Family Calendars

Family calendars are the best way to keep track of your family's engagements and appointments. of the various members of a family. As the kids grow older and their lives get busier, the trusted calendar on the kitchen wall is likely to get more cluttered and difficult to consult. Families today have an extra option to choose from when trying to organize the family’s schedules. Digital family calendars are readily accessible and come with a wide range of options that make them easy to use, manage and consult. However, with so many options to choose from, it can be confusing trying to make sense of the features provided and deciding whether they are actually necessary for your family.

Family Calendars
Family Calendars

Making Sense of Digital Family Calendars

If you are having trouble figuring out which digital calendar will work best for your family, use our guide to make sense of the choices offered. Here are the main features you are likely to come across in a digital family calendar:

  1. Color-coding – This is a big help when it comes to making sense of calendars that include the engagements of multiple people. Some calendars allow color-coding based on people only, while others allow color-coding based on events as well. That way, one look can tell you which days Mark is busy and on what days you have appointments. Color-coding also helps in de-cluttering the calendar by reducing the number of words needed for each entry.
  2. User profile customization – For calendars that are shared with multiple users, it helps to have multiple levels of permission. For example, the younger kids should be allowed to see the various calendars without being able to edit entries. An elder sibling may be allowed to edit already created entries. Both parents can be allowed to create as well as edit entries. Having multiple editors for a family calendar takes the burden of keeping the calendar up-to-date off a single person’s shoulders.
  3. Easy access – The whole point of digitizing family calendars is to make them more accessible than the one on the kitchen wall. It therefore follows suit that the more accessible a calendar is, the more convenient it is for everyone. Digital calendars can be viewed on-the-go using mobile browsers. However, some calendars can only be viewed in this manner while others allow editing as well. Additionally, some calendars have apps that make them accessible and keep them up-to-date even without an internet connection. The most important factor to consider is whether all important family members can access the calendar on their own personal digital devices, handheld or otherwise.
  4. Family Calendars
    Family Calendars
  5. Importing other calendars – With so many appointments to manage and keep track of, sometimes you may find yourself referring to multiple calendars to manage your week. For example, there’s your work calendar that you use in office, and your personal calendar that you use for personal engagements. Then there’s your son’s baseball practice calendar that his coach keeps up-to-date and your daughter’s dance practice calendar that she keeps updated. Instead of constantly referring to all four (or more!) calendars before you make a new appointment, you can just import the other three into your digital family calendar! Many online calendars will allow importing from particular online calendars only, like Google Calendar.
  6. Syncing – It isn’t very helpful if you have to enter the same appointment into multiple calendars in order to remember it. Calendars that allow syncing do not need to be manually updated every time there’s a change in the schedule. Some online calendars allow users to sync their calendars with Outlook or other commonly used calendars. This way, if you make an entry into your work calendar while at the office, it will automatically appear on your online calendar when you check it at home.
  7. The ability to share events – There may be an event every few months that you’d like to share with a friend or an extended family member. So how does this person see an entry in your family calendar? Some calendars allow you to send the URL for the event, which the receiver can view even without signing up for the product. Some URLs automatically update themselves to reflect changes made after the link is sent. Other calendars require the receiver to sign up for the product in order to view the specific event.
  8. Reminders – Many calendars give the user the option of setting reminders for the entries created. These reminders are customizable in terms of which family members receive them, as well as what medium is used to send the reminder.

Top Online Family Calendars

Now that you know the basics, you can move on to the real question: Which are the best family calendars out there? Here are the top three family calendars that you can choose from.

Cozi - Free

This one is popular for its simplicity and its great features. It has a straightforward interface, with individual schedules as well as a color-coded calendar for the whole family. Appointment reminders can be sent via text or email. Users also get an agenda email for the upcoming week via email. It can be synced with Microsoft Outlook and also has a downloadable calendar app for tablets and smartphones. Cool features include the to-do list, the shopping list, and the family journal.

Famjama–Free

Famjama’s calendar has some unique and thoughtful features like the ability to set appointments that only certain family members can see, and the ability to include caretakers in schedules. Another popular feature is the “group calendar,” which can be used outside the family calendar to manage sports teams, carpools or more. It can be accessed using any internet capable mobile phone and can be synced with iCal or downloaded to Outlook.

Google Calendar – Free

If all you want is a platform to share family appointments and schedules, Google Calendar is a great option. It comes free with your Google account, and has all the basic important features that a family calendar needs – color-coding, customizable permission settings and the ability to merge multiple calendars into one. It is easily accessible via phones and PDAs.

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