There is no job in the world quite as busy and overwhelming as that of being a parent. Family calendars quickly fill up with practices, recitals, birthday parties, and hundreds of other things that you need to keep track of each month. Add in the various to-dos and must-dos that spring up out of nowhere each day and any parent can quickly find themselves spinning plates.
Luckily, our phones were built for more than just scrolling through Facebook and snapping quick pics of our little ones. Family organizer apps can be a real lifesaver for moms and dads these days, and finding the right ones to help make your daily life easier can make all the difference.
Work out what causes most stress to find the right app for your family
The first step in finding the best family calendar app is to sit down and determine what is causing the most stress in your family’s daily life. For some, this may be that no one ever seems to know where they are supposed to be on any given day, while for others, it may be that they are overwhelmed by the details of keeping up with chores.
Kids of almost any age can use family apps
Don’t assume you have to wait until your children are older to get them involved in using a family organization app. Most children can begin to see smart devices as productivity tools from an early age. Starting early can help make it part of their everyday routine before the teenage urge to rebel and slack on tasks kicks in.
As kids get older and learn to read, they will be able to add to lists, tick off tasks, add to family calendars, and more.
We’ve rounded up the best, parent-approved family productivity apps to help you and your family get organized in no time.
The best apps for busy families
An in-depth organizer app that allows parents to reward kids for doing chores, OurHome is free to use with no ads. The app allows parents to assign and schedule tasks and chores, view personal progress and activities, add items to a shared grocery list, enter events into a family calendar, send messages and reminders, and stay in sync across multiple unlimited devices.
Each family member has the ability to create and edit to-do lists, add new tasks, assign deadlines, and allocate tasks to a family member.
Reviewers love it for its ability to keep large families organized and its features you can tailor to suit you.
2. Google Calendar
The calendar from Google is one of the most-widely used apps because it’s free, simple, and available on all platforms. All you need is a Google email address and you’re good to go.
Google’s colour-coding options make it easy to divide up different types of tasks, activities, and events, so that each person can filter their view by what matters to them. The ability to share calendars make it the perfect option for busy families with older children who have a lot of practices and other dates to keep track of on a weekly basis. Being able to set permissions allows you to control who sees what and who can add or delete events.
Google Calendar can do a lot more than simply track dates for you. For instance, when you input a location for any activity, Google will automatically pull in a link for directions, as well. Everyone in the family can access the calendar, including any additional caregivers you employ, making it easier for people to keep track of each other’s schedules when booking plans further down the line.
If you’re looking for a way to easily create and share lists, notes, and reminders with your family members, Evernote is a fantastic option. It’s available for all platforms, has a basic free plan that works well enough for most people, and the app is also accessible offline. (There’s also a “personal” premium version.)
It’s known primarily for its list functionality, but Evernote has a lot of other features that set it apart from the competitors. You can easily record and share audio notes, and Evernote makes it easy to take and store photos within its notebooks, as well. This functionality can be particularly useful when taking note of ads and notices you see on the go. Planning upcoming events or holidays is child’s play with all your ideas and the information you need collected in one convenient place.
Trello is a project management tool that has been popular with professional project managers for years, but many people rely on it in their personal life as well. Essentially an electronic pinboard, Trello can be as simple or as complicated as you like. You can create a “board” for anything, from a family holiday or party to appointments and meal planning. Share it with your family members and anyone can add “cards” made up of links, thoughts, dates, tasks, and more. Family members can comment on cards and easily move them around by dragging and dropping. You can also find templates for Trello created by other families that you can save to your own Trello for your family’s use.
Cozi has been around for many years and is a go-to family organizational tool for many parents. It boasts a host of features such as family calendars, to-do lists, recipe sections, shopping lists, and even a space for a family journal. Because there are so many features within Cozi, some parents find it overly complicated, but it’s still a favourite for many. With over 20 million users, Cozi is cross-platform and definitely worth checking out. The ad-supported version is free, but an ad-free version is also available as a paid upgrade.
The takeaway for parents
Whichever family organizer apps you choose, consistency is the key to making it work for your family. The hardest part of using any shared family calendar app will be the initial setup, but stick with it. If one really isn’t doing much for you even after working with it for a few weeks, try another. Time is a precious commodity, after all, and if an app can give you more hours back to enjoy what really matters, it’s worth the effort of getting to grips with technology to make that happen.