Strangely, I haven’t written about Command Centers in a long time around here. In fact, the last images I can find that I posted were here and here. But something about the first day of the month in May being a Monday always makes me excited for a fresh start! Or is that just me?
In case we are just meeting for the first time, let me lay out the factors at play in this life of mine:
- Four kids between the ages of 10 – 16 all in different schools across two large public school districts (who have various rotating schedules with their other parents, and no, their schedules don’t completely match)
- Each kid has between 1 – 3 activities of their choice each week, including sports, tutors, bat mitzvahs, birthday parties, musicals / plays, as well as various doctors / therapies
- Four cats (that require feeding and care, and are on a three-meals-per-day diet with microchipped bowls. Don’t ask, but Dr. Together does work with the company that manufactures them, so hey, discount on cat technology, I’ll take it!)
- Two adults (who both travel, including Dr. Together on multiple week-long international trips per year) who have their own Outlook calendars for work, and who both like a lot of physical and social activity (soccer, tennis, triathlons, swimming, book clubs, and the occasional very large house party)
- Also, it appears all the humans need to eat three-four meals per day. #crockpot
- And . . we have one amazing and flexible babysitter to help with a lot of kid after-school driving, among other things
So, how do we “juggle” it all? First of all, let’s just say it is a very fine balance, and there is no illusion of perfection around here. However, a few things have helped as of late:
- Shared family Google calendar, in which the older kids are responsible for adding in their own activities
- Separate Google calendars with each of the kids’ co-parents for shared items and custody schedules
- A Skylight that combines all calendars so the kids can get a digital view of what is happening each day (I wasn’t sure about this at first, and really wanted Shannon’s Echo Show, but we are a Google family (with small doses of Microsoft) and, alas, a large digital screen by Google doesn’t exist!)
- A Friday Family Lookahead gathering led by Dr. Together and me that reviews activities, wishes, requests, meals, and such for the week
And for reasons unknown to me, I still love two other visuals (actually, the reason is known to me. I love a digital calendar, but the monthly views remain atrocious). Those two visuals are handwritten, and I’ve included images below. I can’t function without a sense of the entire month ahead. This one is also easier for the younger kids in our house to take in.
All items in the visual calendars are safely lodged in Outlook or Google, but I still love a big picture visual. Yes, it’s double work, but I’m okay with that. The monthly view is helpful on the whiteboard, but sometimes it doesn’t meet the need for a very long-term view. We usually just put the big stuff on here – such as birthdays, vacations, and such. Also, it is cute on the wall! (#etsy) I could probably consolidate the two, but hey, there is always 2024!
Together Time: How about you? Do you have a Command Center? How do you handle multiple calendars?
PS Our good friends at The Bossy House do a lot of super cool things with Command Centers.