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Tips for Creating a Successful Family Schedule

Life gets busy.  Between the work schedules, the softball practice, the after school clubs, and social gatherings with family and friends, life is hectic.  We’ve been there.  Actually, we’re there, so I thought I’d write about some Tips for Creating a Successful Family Schedule. 

Daily family scheduling planner with colored bookmarks. Tips for Creating a Successful Family Schedule.

Remember when you were young and you only had to worry about yourself? I do. 

I had to worry about my work schedule, my workout schedule (or lack there of) and my sleep schedule.  That’s about it. 

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Then I decided to get a dog, and well, that added to my schedule.  Feeding schedule, potty and play time schedule and as she got older, a medication schedule. 

Still, at this point, I didn’t need Tips for Creating a Successful Family Schedule. I could maintain it on my own. 

Add a husband and stepdaughter in the mix, and we’re talking a sit down dinner schedule, gymnastics schedule, school functions schedule, homework and bath time schedule, fantasy football gatherings, you name it, add it in.

Have a baby. Add to the feeding schedule, the changing schedule, the bathing and playtime schedule, the doctors appointments…I could go on forever. 

Somehow I have to squeeze time in that schedule for myself. But how? Can I pause time so I can take a hot bath? Nope.

I’ll be honest. I didn’t realize how hard all of this was until I started working full time and we had our baby. 

Were things hectic when it was just my husband, stepdaughter and I? Sometimes, but nothing to complain about.  We have split 50/50 custody with her mother, and she’s always been great about splitting the running and the appointments for her. 

When we had our son and I went back to work, that’s when it started getting hectic. 

A daily planner filled with a busy parent's daily activities.

My husband works full time and also has a part time job he works one night a week.  I teach college courses, so my schedule varies from semester to semester, depending on when the courses are scheduled. I also need to find time to spend on A Mama Blessed so I don’t let my readers down. 

Oh! I forgot! The laundry. The cleaning. The cooking. The yard work. Sitting down to make sure the bills are paid. There’s that too. 

So, when I went back to work, things started to slide and I started to get anxious because I need things done to feel content. Things I used to consistently do, like wash the kitchen floor by hand (I feel like it’s the only way for it to really get clean), got put to the side.  The laundry would pile up. Last year, I didn’t even plant my garden.

It’s important to use all resources available when you have 1,000,000 things to do every day. My anxiety and stress was getting so high I decided something needed to be done so that we could all function successfully as a family without forgetting an appointment or having to notice the dust on the floorboards one more day. 

If you’re struggling to keep it all together and your family running smoothly and successfully, I totally understand.  I’ve been there.  You aren’t alone.  

That’s where the Tips for Creating a Successful Family Schedule come into play. These tips will help you regain control and you’ll be a nicer, less stressed person, I promise. 

Here are my Tips for Creating a Successful Family Schedule.  These are the things that my husband and I implemented and it has increased our happiness and reduced our stress level TONS.

  • Schedule a time weekly for your spouse or partner to sit down with you for a half hour each week and talk about what’s to come for the week.  We chose Monday evenings after the baby goes to bed. We sit down (cocktails optional) at the table and go over what we have planned that coming week.  From there we have a handle on who needs to pick up who, where we need to be and when and how we’re going to split the house work.  
  • Notice I said SPLIT the housework? If you’re like me, you may be thinking that you’re the wife and it’s a responsibility for you to “keep house”. Girlfriend, stop it.  You will never be successful at this if you don’t use what you have, and for me, that’s a perfectly able bodied husband who is just as responsible for this family as I am. I shouldn’t say successful, I should say happy.  If you don’t split the housework, you will eventually end up burned up and dried out.  Crispy.  Oh, and angry. 
  • There are wonderful ideas for cleaning schedules on the internet that can be a big help here.  Print one out, which tells you which days you should clean the bathroom, which days you should clean the kitchens, how many loads of laundry a day you should be doing…you get my point. Take that schedule and tweak it to what works for you and your spouse or partner. You can talk about this during your weekly meetings. 
  • I bought a monthly planner like this one.  It is awesome. I have written down in there the monthly commitments we have, the weekly commitments we have and then we pencil things in as they come.  We whip out the planner on Monday nights and discuss what’s to come and who’s going to do what. We keep it on the kitchen counter for easy access to refer to during the week as well. This is a main part of the Tips for Creating a Successful Family Schedule. 
  • So, for example, my stepdaughter had gymnastics every Tuesday night.  I teach every Monday night. These things were penciled in each week so that they were there when we sat down to talk about the schedule for the week. As time goes on, I’d enter in doctors appointments, social commitments my husband or I had, birthday parties, ect. That way they were right there in front of our tired faces when we started to plan. 
  • I also added the monthly cleaning chores that needed to be done. For example, monthly, we do a “deep clean” of the bathroom, which includes dusting and wiping down the baseboards, wiping and cleaning the shower fan, dusting the top of the mirror, ect. 
  • While we are talking about the week, we also incorporate the weekly and daily chores in our scheduling.  For example, during football season, my husband is glued to the TV every Sunday afternoon.  This left me feeling frustrated, so we agreed that he can watch football in our finished basement which is close to the washer and dryer.  He does the laundry while he watches football and I put it away on Sunday evening after dinner.  It’s worked really well!
  • When we are talking drop off and pick up, we simply go by who’s available and who’s closest to the pick up/drop off location.  For example, I work until 5 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I’m closest to my son’s daycare, so after work, I pick him up.  Rather than having my stepdaughter wait for me to get her after picking up my son, my husband also leaves work around 5 and is closer to where she is, so he picks her up. 
  • My husband works late on Tuesdays, so I would take my stepdaughter to gymnastics and by the time he was done with work, her gymnastics was over, so he picked her up so I could get the baby ready for bed.  It’s all about what works. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be.
  • I also want to note that it’s important to maintain balance and don’t be afraid to say no. Sometimes there just isn’t enough room in the schedule to take on another commitment or to attend another social event. We all need a break sometimes too, so saying no isn’t a bad thing.  We’ve had to set boundaries with what nights we can commit to taking my stepdaughter to events or sports practice.  The Tuesdays just ended up being too hectic for us, so we have told her that we can’t commit to any more Tuesday night activities. 
  • We’ve also had to say no to family gatherings as well.  We have to take care of us, and if that means not attending our cousin’s cat’s birthday party, then so be it. We’ll send a card and some cat nip. Just try and keep a good balance of spending time with family and it will be alright. 
  • Schedule in time for yourself.  I schedule time when I will be in the office working on the blog but I also schedule time for myself.  Even if it’s to paint my nails or to workout, it’s scheduled. This is probably the most important part of Tips for Creating a Successful Family Schedule. 
  • Be flexible.  Things will come up and you or your partner may get sick.  During those weeks, improvise.  If you stick to the schedule the majority of the time, your stress level will decrease dramatically. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just make sure someone picks up the kids. 
  • In summary, my three biggest tips are: get a planner, pick a night to meet weekly, and don’t be afraid to say no.

I hope my Tips for Creating a Successful Family Schedule and the way we’ve handled our stressful schedules will help you.  I know there are families that are much bigger than ours and have even crazier schedules. It’s all about working together to get the job done. 

And for single parents…I commend you.  If you don’t have a partner to split the tasks with, be easy on yourself. Ask for help from family and friends and don’t be ashamed. Parenting is hard work! It really, truly does take a village. 

The main thing to remember is that we are human and we can’t do everything. Be sure to take time for yourself. You have to be at your best to function best for your family, so make sure you schedule in that time for whatever keeps you, you. 

Let me know what you think about the Tips for Creating a Successful Family Schedule. Do you have a tip for me? I’d love to hear it!

Contact me through the contact page or leave a comment below. I can always use ways to make things go even more smoothly!

Peace, love and softball practice,