If you have a couple of kids and those kids do a couple of activities each, your schedule can quickly dissolve into madness.  Now add the complication that you and your co-parent are parenting from separate households and the madness intensifies.  Ever feel like you are running kids around town but are never in the right place at the right time?  Your co-parent is likely feeling this same pain.  The good news is that there are some tools you can use to make things easier.

In this age of ever present technology, it is likely that you and your co-parent each carry a smart phone.  This one tool that is already in your hand can be the key to getting you and your co-parent on the same page with where your kids need to be when and what needs done.  There are some available programs which can make the scheduling and communication easier.

The simplest and cheapest (free) option is a shared calendar program.  These programs are available in a number of formats but popular free options exist on Google and Yahoo.  Generally these programs simply require the establishment of a free email account affiliated with or supported by the program.  With your email in hand, you and your co-parent can establish a private group in which you can create a joint calendar and can exchange messages on a message board.  Set up is simple and the benefits are big.  Having a central calendar which contains all the dental appointments, soccer matches and band performances helps both parents plan their lives.  Since the parent exercising parenting time is generally the one in charge of arranging transportation for the children at scheduled events, having one spot to check for activities is key.  Multiple paper schedules or handwritten calendars are easy to lose and easy to manage poorly.  A central calendar is key to making sure that your son gets to his viola lesson and your daughter is present at the Girl Scout cookie booth.

Other programs exist which can assist with scheduling, communication and the exchange of expenses and reimbursements.  One such program is Our Family Wizard.  Accessible through a smart phone app, Our Family Wizard allows a clear and traceable record of communication, scheduling, schedule changes, expense reimbursement requests and expense reimbursements.  There is an annual fee to use this service, but if scheduling and expenses are getting lost in the shuffle, this program can be an easy to use solution.

Communication is key to managing busy kids in your already busy life.  Make things easier for yourself and your co-parent by establishing a system of communication which is direct, easily available and does not require multiple texts and calls to arrange.  You might just get where you’re going without going insane.