September doesn’t just signal the end of summer, it’s also the start of a new school year—and another round of sports and after-school activities. If you’ve got kids, it can sometimes feel you’re always on the run and keeping track of it all can feel like a full-time job. To help stay organized, I made a family schedule board to display in the mudroom.
Why a Family Schedule Board?
So many reasons.
Schedules at School
As a teacher, I always had the daily and weekly schedule posted in my classroom. It was a perfect, quick reference for me, but it was also a great resource for my students. If they ever had a question about their special subjects for the day (which they always did) I’d direct their attention to the board.
This saved me time and energy, but it also taught my students to be more independent and solve problems on their own rather than relying on someone else for information.
Schedules at Home
As a mom of three kids with different schedules, I find the same concept to be helpful. Displaying the different activities and specials in my home is helpful for me, but it’s also helpful for my kids and teaches them responsibility.
One glance at the board and I know which child needs their library book in their backpack, which one needs to wear sneakers, and whether I need to wash a cub scouts uniform.
Before I step in and taking care of these situations on my own, I often ask my kids what they have going on that day and encourage them to prepare. When they’re very young (kindergarten) I offer more guidance and support, but as they get older, they don’t need it.
So what exactly is my family schedule board and how did I make it?
Making a Family Schedule Board
When I first made a family schedule board for our home, I used what I had around the house — an old white board and washi tape. For blogging purposes, I’ve upgraded my materials a bit, but know that you can likely do this with what you already have — no need to purchase new!
Step 1: Gather Materials
For this project, I used:
- White board (anything in the 15″x21″ range. On a budget? Grab a piece of poster paper from Walmart and use that!)
- Washi Tape (I prefer skinny tape for this project, like this)
- Dry or Wet Erase Marker
- Ruler/Yardstick (no link, just go to Walmart!)
- Vinyl letters (optional, but in my shop with a roll of washi tape if you want it all)
Step 2: Think it Out
Decide how many rows and columns you need on your board. Remember, you’ll need an extra one of each for the titles.
We have five people in our family, but my husband and I don’t have too many of our own recurring evening activities, so I combined our boxes.
Next, while there are seven days in the week, there are not a lot of recurring events on Saturdays and Sundays, so I combined those boxes, too.
Despite combining rows and columns, I still needed 7 columns and 5 rows after leaving space for our titles.
Step 3: Measure it Out
Use a measuring tape or the yardstick to measure the length and width of your board. Divide the length by the number of columns you’d like. Divide the width by the number of rows you need.
When I measured my board, the boxes ended up being very close to actual squares. I used 3.25” for height and width. This left me with a little extra space on one end, but also allowed me to have mostly even boxes on my grid — which made my symmetry-loving heart happy.
Step 4: Map it Out
Using a wet or dry erase marker and the yardstick (a measuring tape will work, but the firmness of the yardstick is helpful), make a mark towards the top of your board at every interval you decided on above. Repeat this towards the bottom of your board.
Step 5: Create Columns
Using a large piece of washi tape, connect the two marks you made. Be sure the washi tape runs all the way to the edge of your board. When you’re finished, you should have vertical lines covering your whiteboard at regular intervals, creating as many columns as you determined you needed above.
Step 6: Map it Out Again
Follow the same procedure you used to create columns, but this time measure the intervals towards the left and right sides of your whiteboard.
Step 7: Create Rows
Using a large piece of washi tape, connect the two marks you made horizontally across the board. Keep them regular and even. Make sure the washi goes all the way to the end of your board.
You’ve now got a perfect grid!
Step 8: Add Titles
As I’ve got a Cameo Silhouette, I cut titles for each column and row out of black vinyl. Skipping the first box, I applied the letters for the days of the week across the top row: M, T, W, T, F, S/S. I applied the first initial of each of my family members down the first row, combining the adults: Q, B, E, M/J.
I used a bold font so it would be easy to see and apply.
Side note: I usually apply labels and assign spaces based on age. It’s simple, self-explanatory, and fair in our house. My kids expect it now, so it would be confusing if I switched it up.
And, just because I couldn’t resist, I added a little “weekly schedule” vinyl in the top open box.
Using a Family Schedule Board
As my children get their school specials schedule or sign up for extra-curricular activities, I write it down in my grid.
Dry erase markers work, but wet erase markers work even better if the little people in your house won’t be able to resist swiping the words with their fingers. If you like, you can even use specific colors for specific people in your family, although this isn’t really necessary if they all have their own row.
Every morning or evening (or both) I incorporate checking the board into our routines, usually just after packing lunches in the evening or when putting on shoes in the morning. Since we have a pretty firm routine, we usually aren’t in a big rush to get out the door.
Why The Family Grid Board Works
This board works for us for a lot of reasons.
First, it’s big and easy to read — no confusion unless we’re unsure of the day of the week (hey, it happens…).
Second, it’s permanent — I mounted it to the wall with screws so it will never move. No one will wander off with it. I don’t have to dig in a basket of papers or flip around in a planner to know when my first grader needs sneakers and my 4th grader needs his library book.
Third, it’s convenient. I hung the board right next to our back door, perfect for a last-minute glance on the way out the door. We’re usually prepared for school the night before, but double checking has never been simpler.
Fourth, it’s efficient. I love any excuse to use my planner, but if I’m writing the two or three specials my kids have in school every day in my planner, there’s not a lot of room left for the other important events. This isn’t so high stakes that it needs to go in the planner, but it’s great to have available elsewhere.
Fifth, it’s a learning tool. They learn how to be prepared. It teaches them routines and responsibility. It even teaches them graph reading skills. Oh, and independence!
My goal as a parent is to put myself out of a job. I’m helping my kids become independent by giving them the tools to succeed. This builds positive habits and teaches them it’s okay to set yourself up for success in life by creating helpful resources.
Sixth, it can adapt. This board is long term, but I can also change it with the seasons, sports, and school years.
Seventh, it helps other caregivers. Yes, this board is great for parents and kids, but it’s also helpful for other caregivers such as grandparents or babysitters. If they’re stepping in for an evening or a few days, they easily can keep the kids on track.
Your Family Schedule Board
A family schedule board is a must-have for every home with children. It’s right up there with using keepsake boxes to organize school papers. It’s a tool that will help parents stay sane and help kids be more independent and responsible.
If you don’t have washi tape or access to a silhouette, you can do this with a posterboard, a piece of paper, markers, and pencils. It really doesn’t matter what materials you use, it matters how this can help a family function.
If you’d like a board just like this, I have a customizable kit (minus the whiteboard) in my Etsy shop. Shop DIY Family Schedule Board Kits here.
Is this something your family could benefit from? Will you make one? Drop a note below and let me know!