Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Visual weekly calendar

Sometimes, with two small children, we don't get the chance to dig out the diary and see what we're supposed to be doing that day.
Sometimes, the week can fly by and you realise that it's gone past without you getting around to any of the things you wanted to do with your children.
As the children get older, you want them to have some idea of the plan for the next few days, and even to have some ownership of it. 
You don't necessarily want to over-plan, so a detailed "timetable" might not suit you... too many things with too much structure just makes you feel bad when you don't get around to any of them, and that's sure to happen with a baby in the picture.

So I came up with this system.  It's a weekly calendar, laminated to allow things to be stuck on, and with lots of visual cards for different activities.  The calendar is simply divided into morning and afternoon, with a third slot for evening/other info.  Naps and meals aren't included, they happen every day at pretty much the same time so don't need to be.  The idea is that one (sometimes two) activities are scheduled into each slot.  Some of these activities are externally constrained, such as "Toddler Group" or "Swimming" which we do with friends.  Others have to slot in - if either parent is out in the evening, then a dog walk needs to fit in the afternoon (if we're both home then I take her out in the evening).  Shopping has to happen once a week.  A trip to the library needs to fit in before the books are due.  Meetings and appointments need to fit in from my diary.  I sit down on a Sunday evening, preferably with Little C before he goes to bed, and fit all the activities into their slots, and then we work out what other activities to fill the remaining slots with (painting, baking etc.).  With his new Sticker Chart for pleases and thank-yous, his reward will be to choose an activity for the following day, so I'll need to leave a space blank for him.  

I love it.  The calendar is stuck on the fridge, where it reminds me every time I pass of what we are supposed to be doing at any given time.  Because we only have one activity scheduled for each slot it allows plenty of flexibility and free playing time around the activity too.

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