Mom of Four Shares How To Build A Family Schedule That Truly Works

how to build a functioning family schedule
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I’m often asked how I “do it all,” and I can tell two secrets.

  1. I don’t do it all, no matter what my Instagram story looks like.
  2. Having a well-oiled schedule allows me to complete more than I would have ever thought possible.

Truth be told, I don’t know how I would function without a schedule. We have four kids, two of which are I homeschool, and two little ones underfoot. I work at home, and my husband works two jobs.

Add in piano practices, doctor visits, and more; it’s enough to make your head spin. Without a schedule, I might go insane.

I won’t tell you that a family schedule fell into my lap without a struggle. That would be a lie. Finding the right schedule that works for your family requires some trial and error.

Things sound great in theory on paper, but they work terribly in real life. Life changes often, and a rigid schedule doesn’t adapt well. We needed a schedule that provided a structure with room to breathe.

Sounds familiar?

It’s a battle so many of my friends face as well! They try a schedule or two for a day, then they think it failed. In reality, it just needed some more tweaking to be the right one for your family.

Are you ready to get started making the right schedule for your family? Here are some tips to make it happen for you!

How to Make a Schedule that Works for Your Family

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1. Take a Look at Your Days

Before you can create a new schedule, you have to look at your current days. Do a simple time study. All you have to do is make a chart and list what each family member is doing at a certain time of day.

Do you work? Does your spouse work? Do the kids go to school, and do they have extracurricular activities?

Think about the issues that might surround your days now. Do you notice hunger or fatigue at certain times? When do you feel most disorganized throughout the day? These are times that you want to focus and pay attention to make a difference in your day.

2. What Needs to Be Accomplished Each Day?

Think about what you want throughout your day and the tasks you need to accomplish. For example, you should include your ideal bedtime for your kids and time for your kids to complete homework. Add time to make, eat, and clean up dinner.

It’s a good idea to consider what you would like to see or pinpoint times in the day that are hectic. With the right scheduling or organization, you may be able to get rid of some of that chaos, and we all need less chaos in our lives.

3. Put it on a Calendar

Now it’s time to put the times and commitments down on paper, a poster board, or a calendar. Post it up somewhere that the entire family can see. Some of your kids or even your spouse might disagree and fight the schedule.

4. Follow the Schedule for a Week

For the first week, you’ll need to check the schedule frequently and let that guide you rather than your natural instincts. If you aren’t paying attention, it will be easy to fall away or forget what you’re supposed to be doing.

You will need to remind your children what the schedule says that they need to be doing at that time as well. However, if your kids are able to read, they should take some responsibility for their part of the schedule.

5. Figure Out What Needs to Be Changed

Things are going to need to be changed and tweaked to make this family schedule perfect for you, but avoid making too many changes in the first week.

You really need to see how the schedule works for you and give everything a chance to fit or not fit into place.

Figure out what changes are best for your family. Perhaps dinner time needs to be pushed later because of soccer and piano practices.

You might need to make bedtime a bit later or earlier, depending on how your children behave. The tweaks that need to be made or not be made will depend entirely on your family and your needs.

6. Pick the Right Calendars

I have multiple calendars – seriously. I have a paper planner that organizes my general to-do lists for each day, my work schedule, homeschool schedule, and more.

We also have a calendar for the family that hangs on a wall for everyone to see. This schedule is for everyone to see in the family, so I put things such as practices, games, extra work shifts, field trips, and more.

I also have calendar apps for my phone that I share with my husband. We use Google Calendar and sync to the same calendar, letting us see all of our family plans. You can’t be too organized, right?

7. Use Weekly Planning Sessions

Each week, I take at least a half hour to plan. Planning saves you time, so don’t be afraid to invest some of yours each week into looking over the upcoming events.

Some weeks will be different. You might have parties, trips, or other things that change of the rhythm. It’s also a good time to plan out the meals for a week and make a grocery list.

8. Leave Time Unscheduled

Just because you’re creating a schedule doesn’t mean that you need to schedule every time slot in your calendar.

Feel free to leave slots open for some free time. You need time to relax and have fun, and you can’t do that without open time slots in your calendar.

How can you decide to go to the lake for fishing if you book your days solid? You need time to watch some TV, read books, and watch your kids play in the sprinkler, so leave unscheduled time for it.

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Making a schedule that works for your family can be tricky. It takes time and trying different things to see what works best.

At one time, I always worked at night, but I decided to break my working time into open slots during the day and at night. Trying different things helped me find what works for me the best.

how to build a functioning family schedule
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Written by Bethany Hayes

Bethany Hayes is a homeschooling mom of four wild and free kids. With that many kids, she has experienced nearly everything when it comes to raising young kids, and she loves to help other moms. Motherhood is a tribe, and she works to organize local groups to help moms. In her spare time, you can find her in her massive garden or crocheting.