Getting more organised is a common New Year’s resolution. When you are managing your life and the lives of members of the family, the task can feel quite monumental. Coordinating schedules, goals and needs can become so overwhelming that you feel like you are drowning in information that cannot possibly be kept in your head. I like to refer to it as the ‘mental load’. With four children in my own family, I have often felt consumed by trying to keep data and information in the right places. (I have been known to forget a dentist appointment or lose a permission form in my time.) But how do you go about making the information accessible to all?
Fear not! At Educating Matters, we know more than most the importance of this task. Below are some of the apps that we use or recommend to others to help systemise information and alleviate the stress of managing the lives of those in your family along with your own.
Calendar Apps for Parents & Families
Cozi is an amazing app for households to organise their busy lives. Each family member is given a colour to provide a visual cue as to who needs to be where. This app is shared across devices so that each member of the family (depending on age) can see what is going on. In addition to calendars, you have shared to-do lists (great for chores), shopping lists and a place to store recipes. My favourite part of the app is the family journal. You can share pictures and videos so that no member of the family has to miss out on fun moments from baby’s first smile to a teenager’s awards ceremony. There is a free version and a paid add free version of this app.
2houses is designed to help separated parents communicate and organise co-parenting their children. This app has helped reduce the need for uncomfortable conversations in person which can become heated. The synchronized calendar allows parents to set custody schedules, input events such as school plays or doctor appointments and even request to swap time for special events. There is a finance section that shows where a child’s additional financial needs are and who is responsible for paying and when. The messaging section is especially good when there has been a break down in relationship between parents. It has end to end encryption and can be shared with an attorney or mediator. Keeping all communication contained in this space allows information to be shared and provides accountability which helps to keep the tone civil. There are many other features that help make co-parenting efficient and inclusive. There are monthly and yearly plans for this service.
Google Calendar is great because it is free and easy. All you need is an email address and you are good to go. Google’s colour coding options make it easy to identify tasks and activities. You can also share calendars which makes life much easier for families with older children. You can also set permissions for who is allowed to add or delete events. One of the features I like about this calendar is that it automatically inputs directions to appointments when a location is entered. Whilst it does not have all the bells and whistles of other apps, it is a fantastic tool for organising your family’s busy life.
Apps for Chores and Rewards
Rooster Money is my favourite app for managing pocket money. I also like this app best for teens and tweens chore rewards. This is an app that grows with your family. It teaches your children the value of the effort they put into actions. You can set their currency to either cash or stars. Small children can use it as a reward chart for brushing teeth or even potty training. As your child grows, you can choose to change the currency to GBP from the Bank of Parents. As they become more responsible, there is even a debit card they can have that you control. They see how much they earn and track their spending. It helps them understand the value of money and to think before making purchases. There are free and paid versions of this app.
For younger children, this is a fantastic app. It takes the old time paper charts and digitises them to make them fun and exciting. You set up daily and weekly chore charts that when completed, lead to stars and trophies. Many parents like that the rewards are not monetary. It is very visually appealing to children with many themes and the ability to choose a picture or an avatar for their screen. The parental screen is kept separate which means that parents are in complete control. There are free and paid versions of this app.
These apps are only a sample of many that can help with the organisational needs of your family. Whatever app you choose, the most important factor is consistency. Choose your apps based on what makes the most sense for your family’s particular needs AND what you feel you will remain consistent in your usage. This will help you become successful and alleviate your stress from managing your busy family.
Educating Matters includes in their many corporate seminars “Organising Matters”. This hour is jam packed with useful and achievable information to help working families organise the chaos which leaves more time for family bonding. Please click here to find out how your workplace can take advantage of our expertise.