Coco asked me yesterday how I’m planning to track “family” or “fun” activities (one of my goals for 2022).
My planner (the Wonderland 222) has these quarterly pages in the front of the planner (see above).
Last year, I didn’t really end up using these pages too much. The monthly boxes are obviously quite small (and there are full sized monthly pages later in the planner where I actually do my real planning).
I did kind of use the grid pages last year (right side) to track some of my yearly goals that came up monthly (like, make a new recipe 1x/month-there’s space here to jot down “new recipe= _________” and fill in what I made that month. Or I can make little checkboxes there for “cooked with the boys”, for example (goal to cook with them at least 20 times this year) and X them off.
But I decided to use the monthly boxes on the left to track “quality time” this year. Obviously I don’t write down everything we do together. As the boys are older now, it’s surprisingly easy (and sad) to find that if we aren’t careful, whole days can pass that we don’t really DO anything much together! I mean, we’re here, we’re technically together- but they don’t need me to give them a bath anymore. I don’t have to rock them to sleep, and no one asks me to play choo choo trains anymore.
I don’t want to fall into the trap of sort of “growing apart”, if that makes sense? Not that I think we really will. We’re a close family and we do spend plenty of time together. But I just think as they’re entering the teen years now, we should probably pay extra close attention to this.
So this is how it looks currently. I’m not 100% at filling this out, and some of these items seem random… (“Vet with Ethan”, for example. But I counted that as quality time! We got the hamster ready to go together, rode there together, talked the whole way, etc.)
In order to make it on here, it needs to be an activity or time when we weren’t really doing anything else- just focusing on the shared activity/ each other. Or it needs to include at least a majority of focused time. (Example- Asher’s swim meets. I’m not with him the whole time, but we are “together” a lot. Before, during breaks between his events, usually a meal together after, etc. Lots of conversation and what I consider quality time.)
Of course, there are other times too that I don’t record…for example, breakfast every morning is a good chunk of time for us. We have the news on, we talk, the kids eat, I putter around with dishes, etc. That’s always a nice little moment of connection for us. Or riding to/from lessons, sports in the car. But I’m trying to use this grid to keep track of other activities that are a little more above and beyond just totally normal daily activities.
I’m hoping to get back into reading more with the boys!! We used to read every.single.night together and that was a very solid, recurring “quality” activity for us. But now that they’re older, it’s much more rare….and that’s sad. They are still willing- we just need to make it happen. (So I can add it to my calendar grid. 😆)
I checked out all of the books below from the library- we’re planning to start reading them tonight! T-17 days til our trip. Need to brush up on our Roman history. 😉 (The “Who Was” series is so great!! Simple and quick to read, but still totally informative even for older kids and/or adults! We’ve read so many of these over the years.)
I am grateful for lotion. My skin gets soooo dry this time of year…
7 thoughts on “Tracking family activities”
I haven’t found a use for the quarterly pages yet so it’s fun to see how others use them! I am on the opposite end of the spectrum since our kids are in the stage where I bathe them, rock Will to sleep, spend LOTS of time with Paul at bedtime (especially lately since he’s wanting us to lay with him or sit in his rocking chair until he falls asleep…). But I can see how it can be easy to not really connect with the kids when they are older, more independent and really busy with activities! Looking back at my childhood, I did not spend a lot of quality time with my parents. They were so busy with work and 5 kids (although there were big chunks of my childhood where we weren’t all living at home – my little sister was born when my brother was 17!). Plus parenting seems really different these days compared to the past. But I vividly remember when my dad would play horse or pig with me (basketball games) and I did a lot of baking with my mom for 4H.
I do my planning online but created a simple spreadsheet with months and priorities that I look at during my weekly planning time. To your point, focusing on it (quality family time) really helps. It has made me more intentional looking for fun things to do as well as realize that we do a lot of fun family things together which makes me happy. Once you track and think about it more, it stays in your memory a bit more in my experience.
I think this is a great tracking system! What a great use of that grid system. And going to the vet can definitely count as quality time!
I often think some of my best conversations with the kids happen when we go out running errands or on a walk to get the mail. “Forgettable” parts of the day, but they can be great points of connection.
You left a comment on my blog yesterday about wishing the time would slow down instead of going so fast! I think making the time for these things and keeping a record of them is a way to slow things down- it makes each day seem more distinct instead of all the days running together (which makes it seem like a blur when you look back.). ALSO, a great piece of advice I got last year before my son left for college was to make sure I had no regrets. You don’t want to look back and wish you had spent more time, or had more conversations, or missed out on anything important. It sounds like you’re doing great.
thanks for sharing your method of tracking. I don’t have a dated journal but I think I can add a page and just write them down as they happen. I also track funny quotes by my girls.
I love the idea of tracking family activities. At the beginning of the pandemic one of my neighbors said she was enjoying really getting to spend time with her older kids because everyone had been so busy they rarely saw each other. I know as my kids get older they will have friends, jobs, homework, activities, etc, but I am hopeful that we can still make time for each other before they are off to college/adulthood.
I love this tracking system! And I totally agree that quality time is often the simple chunks of time… for me and A, it’s our cuddle and chat time in bed, and also driving time. There’s something about driving (perhaps less intimidating than sitting staring at each other) that makes it so good for quality time talking… hubby and I are the same way.