Creating a Family Schedule

SCHEDULING! What is it?

For me, its creating a schedule that helps in a hundred different ways:

  • It helps us fit everything into our day that we’d like to get done.
  • It helps us to spend special time with each of our children.
  • It helps our children to have special time with each other.
  • It helps to keep the ball rolling on a bad day.
  • It helps us all to know what we can and should be doing.
  • It helps us to plan and keep track of each other.
  • It helps us keep our priorities straight.
  • It helps give purpose to our children’s days.

Scheduling can be such a blessing. I am not easily a scheduled person and I don’t easily stick to a schedule, but the days that I do stick to it are a whole lot better than the days that I don’t! I find we are all a lot more productive and we enjoy time together so much more on the days we follow the schedule. I love how a schedule makes my life purposeful, handleable, effective.

Opposite to what you might think – the schedule does not make one regimented and busy each moment, but rather allows one to relax into it and enjoy the moment. You know there is enough time for everything and you are not already thinking of the what else needs doing so you can focus fully on the task at hand and put your all into it.

So – how do we begin to create a schedule that works for the unique needs of our family?

To me, scheduling is a bit like birthing (though not as hectic!) – its a long process that comes slowly and the most work and the hardest push is usually just before its complete.

Creating an effective schedule is far from simple and requires vision, much perseverance and stick-to-it-iveness.

Teri Maxwell’s book – Managers of Their Homes is, in my opinion, the key to unlocking an effective family schedule.

Here are 8 steps towards creating an effective schedule

1. Think and pray for a few days as you think about things you have been struggling to get done, areas your family needs to improve on, what you’d like to make time for, what is not working, etc. Make simple, point form notes as you think of things. I’ve found the praying part has made the biggest difference to my schedule – it actually worked well after I did that.

2. Take an A4 page for each family member. Write their name at the top of the page and divide it into 2 columns. In the left column, write absolutely everything you can think of that that person would like to be doing (except dad unless he wants to be included). In the right column, write how long you think you will need for each item (per day or per week).

If you’re like me you’ll want a full week schedule with takes up just about a full wall -with each day slightly different! I’ve got days across the top, time slots down the side – and one colour sticker for each family member to show what they are doing in that time slot.

– but usually a daily schedule will suffice – family members names across the top (columns) and time slots down the side (rows) and activities in the blocks.

3. Think and pray with your hubby to see what you might have left out or what is unnecessary and spend a few days updating your lists.

  • Brainstorm ideas for little tots time – sometimes their time is rather empty and yours rather full – but with a bit of creativity you’ll be surprised how quickly their time can be filled. Often you will find the planned time can just be a backup and they are happy to just hang out with you whatever you are doing. The purpose of scheduling with little ones is not to prevent them playing or exploring but to have an activity ready when needed.

  • Some of the pieces of our schedule for little ones include: nap time,  story time, playing time with older sibling, tub time (sitting in empty sandpit tub with beads or beans or some raw pasta and a few pouring devices), hang out with Mommy time (just being with Mommy and others whatever you are doing – washing dishes, reading to others, doing schoolwork, etc.)

4. Think about the most effective form of schedule for you and your family members to easily be able to read and follow: a handwritten one or a computer version, handwritten on paper or on sticker squares of different colours, what size, where to stick it up, which is the easiest kind to update, etc.

5. Create a blank template like a grid – 1 column for each family member – and 1 rows for each time slots (1/2 hr or 1 hour time slots). Then start to fill in the blocks in pencil (good for editing) and slowly build your schedule. This is the painstaking part – but also when it suddenly starts to come together. Start by filling in your fixed activities and the things which are priorities to you or most important (the big rocks). Then build up your schedule bit by bit by matching who will be doing stuff with who at what time, etc. Little rocks will fit in last.

6. Once your schedule is complete prepare your children. Talk about the value of the schedule and the purpose for it, how it will help your family. Pray together and help everyone to see that it will take time to get used to but will be worthwhile.

7. Begin to follow your schedule! The first day is always tough but exciting as everyone learns the ropes. Remember each day is a fresh start.

8. Make notes the first week and adjust / improve it that weekend for the following week. Update it every 3 months or when needed. Most of all, enjoy the process – have fun doing it!

  • I find that having a schedule is wonderful if we decide to spontaneously go on an outing or do something different. We have a quick look at the schedule to see what we’ll be missing – and either I’ll know that its fine to miss those things or quickly re-alocate them to another time slot and then out we go!
  • I will post more at a later stage on the details and content of our schedule, and also on the “focus” of each day.


“For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee” Titus 1v5


7 thoughts on “Creating a Family Schedule

  1. Great post on scheduling! I will also say for me, a schedule is a great tool, but a terrible master.

  2. Linnie Lues says:

    Dear Karyn, you introduced me to Tery Maxwell’s Managers of Their Home and it totally changed my life as the home schooling mother of my eight children! I’m a terrible organizer and struggle BIG time to stay focused, thus desperately need a schedule. I’ve tried numerous schedules over the years with no success. Reading Tery’s Managers of Their Home, just made so much sense and gave me the tools to make scheduling work!
    I’ve ordered my own book in last week and can’t wait to read the other books I’ve ordered with!
    Thank you so much!
    Lots of love

    • Dear Linnie Thats wonderful to hear!! 🙂 I so relate – its been such a Godsend to me too – I am very spontaneous and all-over-the-place and not easily organised. God is using the book and scheduling to really work in my life. Books you ordered sound exciting! May I ask which other books you ordered? Much love,Karyn

  3. Linnie Lues says:

    I ordered Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit and Managers of Their Chores: A Practical Guide to Children’s Chores, too!

  4. Lisa says:

    Hi! I have just found your blog from the se7en blog link. Thank you, thank you for such a thorough going through of how one might create a family schedule. I am so in need of one, but really don’t know where to begin, it is just overwhelming! I have known about MOTH for several years now, but have always resisted as I only have 3 kids at the moment so have thought it not so useful for me. Am I wrong? I also don’t live in the States so postage costs also put me back. Why is this book so wonderfully helpful? What does it have in it that you can’t just middle through and fiddle with and discover yourself, or discover from blogs like yours?? Thank you again!

    • Hi Lisa Nice to meet you! I’m glad you are inspired about a schedule! I have found a schedule invaluable with four young children and I am not easily a schedule person and yet its amazing how its helped me to harness my heart and get stuck in there with the day to day – with my children. About the MOTH book – absolutely you should get it! Are you in Cape Town? Could I lend it to you? I have learnt so much from the Maxwells – besides the details of how to plan the schedule – its the inspiration this book gives you from their lives. I still love to read it now to be inspired again about the purpose of scheduling and investing in my children’s lives. People who borrow it take a long time over it as there is so much there! Also when I read it I feel mentored by a Titus 2 Mom!

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