As your kids get older, they get busier! The more kids you have, the harder it becomes to coordinate kids schedules on a daily basis! I use Google Calendar for family calendar sharing, as I’ve mentioned in the past. I’m going to talk specifically about how I use it to coordinate my children today though.
First, I created a google account for each of my kids. I know they aren’t technically old enough to actually have accounts yet, and therefore I had to fudge the year they were born. The difference between now and when they turn 13 though, is they don’t have the password to their own account. I keep the password, and they are not allowed to access the account for any other reasons. I have other friends who will email their child’s account pictures of them throughout the year, with a sort of “journal entry” for the email body, so when they do get access to their account down the road, they have a whole journal with pictures of themselves. It’s definitely a cute idea. I don’t do that though. I use their Google account for Google Play (downloading apps and music to their phone or tablet), and for Google Calendar. The last really good reason to create their Google account now, is so they can reserve a good gmail address. Sure, it’s hard to get a good one now, but imagine how much harder it will be in 5 or 10 years!
Once I had each account all set, I went to calendar.google.com while signed in as them. Next to the main calendar (the first one on the list) press the dropdown arrow.
Next, click on “share this calendar”
Type in all parent’s email addresses (one at a time) and set their permissions to “make changes AND manage sharing”.
Sharing the calendar in this manner will put the child’s calendar within the main section of the parent’s calendars within Google Calendar (as seen in the plethora of calendars I have in my account above)
Kids schedule synced for all family members
Now, when I need to schedule a sports practice, or piano lesson, or doctor’s appointment, I will put that item on the appropriate child’s calendar. It automatically syncs up with my phone, and my husband’s phone, and the child’s phone (if they already have one). As they get older, and manage their own calendar, this will be a great tool to have to make sure everyone is on the same page with the family schedule. It also makes my own calendar color coordinated, since each individual calendar is assigned it’s own color. It makes it super easy to see who is going where.
School calendars are an important part of family calendar sharing
Another part of managing children’s schedules is also the school calendar. Fortunately for me, our district uses Google calendars as well. If I go to the website for my children’s elementary school, and click on calendar, there is an option for me to subscribe to the public calendar. This will add the calendar to my list of calendars (but near the bottom of the page in a separate section). Some after school activities and clubs will also make their calendar public for you to subscribe to. It’s so nice to not have to enter all of the items for the school into my calendar. The one downside is it also shows stuff I don’t really need to know on a regular basis, such as for grades my kids aren’t currently in.
If YOU are in charge of the activity or school, definitely consider making a separate calendar and give access to other parents. Believe me, everyone will love you for it! Now, if you will excuse me, I need to pick my daughter up from volleyball, throw some food at her, and drive her straight to swim practice!
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com