As I went back and read through the 70 comments on my first post in the Bullet Journal for Moms series on bulletjournal.com, one particular theme emerged again and again: the biggest challenge of parenting once your kids get older is managing their schedules. Sure, technically they’re at school all day, but school-age children are notoriously overbooked after school, with lessons and team practices and playdates and volunteering… Guess who makes that magic happen? Mom and Dad.
That’s why I wanted to take a really long, hard look at scheduling in a Bullet Journal for this final post in the Bullet Journal for Moms series. Since my own children are 3 and 5 years old and I’m just entering this big-kid phase of motherhood, I asked my own readers to send me their craziest schedules, so I could get a glimpse of what’s to come and brainstorm how to tackle multiple children’s days in a Bullet Journal.
One particular mom wrote in about shuttling her five kids around, all of whom are involved in a number of activities. Her calendar was completely booked! So I got to thinking. Was there a way to develop a spread that would:
- Give you a holistic view of your family’s weekly schedule;
- Offer a detailed view of what each person has going on that week;
- And account for the fact that schedules change at the last minute?
To me, it seemed color-coding might really help, so I went over to Target and started investigating how I might use sticky, transparent flags in a weekly schedule spread.
I ended up determining that Target brand up&up self-adhesive, repositionable flags fit 3 across in my Leuchtturm almost perfectly, meaning I could divide a page into three columns (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday on one page; then, Thursday, Friday, Saturday/Sunday on the adjacent page) and use flags within each column.
With five colors, one can be assigned to each child for an easy look at who’s doing what each day or week. The other great thing about using these flags is that they can easily be moved around when plans change–no erasing necessary. Plus, a package of 150 flags is only $3.29.
The other component of this spread is what some have called a “Dutch door” in the center. When creating the spread, I left an extra page in between the two main pages. This extra page gets folded in half lengthwise and gives you a bunch more space for things that don’t fall within the weekly calendar you created, such as tasks or tracking.
See how the Dutch door page can be unfolded and used for meal planning and a corresponding grocery list since it’s already nicely divided into two columns??
Of course, this spread was created with moms in mind, but really, anyone with an overloaded schedule could benefit:
- People (not just parents) who want to have a full view of each day (7 am – 10 pm is pretty darn full!).
- People who have elements of their schedule that change frequently.
- Parents who want to color-code for each child.
- People who want to color-code different tasks or projects (for instance, for educators: planning time vs. parent meetings vs. staff meetings).
At this stage of parenting, the other consideration is modeling your use of a Bullet Journal for your children. I know my five-year-old expressed an interest in having her own journal once she discovered how frequently I was working in mine, so we rushed right out and got one for her.
Even though hers is mostly filled with doodles of princesses and unicorns, having her own journal gave us an opportunity to talk about the ways I use my Bullet Journal and how that might translate for school-age kids. For instance:
- Homework lists
- Long-term assignment planning
- Tracking for…
- School grades
- Taking daily vitamins or prescription medicines
- Hours slept
- Hours practicing at a sport or instrument, etc.
- Birthday or holiday wishlists
- Yearly goals
- Summertime family bucket lists
- Subjects to explore
Just think of how you might have benefitted from having a Bullet Journal at an earlier stage of life. Introducing our children to the system as a way to organize their minds and their goals can only set them up for success. The sooner, the better!
So, moms of big kids, what’s working in your Bujo?