Family Sanity-Saving Calendar

It's true. My husband and I enjoy a good routine. We like timelines, to-do lists, and plans. At our wedding there was more than one joke about our mutual love of spreadsheets. And, now that I'm a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom of two busy little people, I like organization tools even more. Without something telling me where I need to be and what I will need for tomorrow I am in constant fear of forgetting something.

Of course I have lots of organizing apps on my phone keeping me on track but that doesn't help Miss M. At barely 4 1/2 years old she is always asking what we're doing today or tomorrow; when her next Show and Share is at preschool; when her play date is with a friend...you get the idea. She can't help it, it's hard wired into her genes.

I searched high and low for a big family calendar that we could see the whole month for that had both words and pictures for my pre-readers. I wanted something that would be able to be adapted as they got older.

Not finding anything that had the option to personalize it with images and words, I finally decided to cobble together my own version. I settled on a classroom calendar by TREND that I found at an office supply store with a big grid. It came with cling form icons for two months worth of dates, month names, and special day signs.

I wanted it to be more personalized though so I found some reusable sticker labels and made a series of stickers for all of our activities - both regular ones like preschool and soccer, and occasional ones like a play date or doctor appointment. I used some real photos to represent some places we go, and some generic images for some activities and included the name of the activity to encourage word/image association.

The calendar came with one of those weather wheels and season identifier so I put those up to. It's hanging in our dining room - command central in our house as it is the one place we are all sure to gather a couple times a day for meals.

The result has been fantastic. Mr M (2 1/2) loves telling us the weather (though he has a tendency to blue sky it every day even if it's pouring rain out - guess he inherited an optimistic side from me). Miss M tells me the full day (month, date, and day) every morning and we talk about what's happening today and for the upcoming week.

I love seeing the whole month in a big picture format and am really happy with the outcome. And the best part is that it only cost about $25 for the calendar and the label paper! More effective and less cost than most of those professionally made calendars that didn't quite meet our needs.

Does your family use a planning calendar? What's your favourite one?

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