Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How to get your blended family ready and organized for 2012

The New Year is beginning and there is no better time to get your blended family organized. You have your spouse and kids living with you full-time, and step kids who occasionally visit. Things can get confusing in the home of a blended or step family. 

A calendar for the family
A calendar is a great organizational tool for a blended family. Buy one with several spaces for each day, and then assign each child a color. This includes both biological and step kids. Start by marking all the school events for each child, including holidays, breaks, exams schedules and sporting events. This will allow you to see and plan for important upcoming events in your step family.

Next, make note of birthdays. These may include other relatives and family friends if you like. Anniversaries can be noted. The visitation schedule for the step kids should be noted. Try to plan things out as far in advance as you can. Your blended family can function much better when everyone is on the same page as far as what is happening, and when.

An individual calendar for others
Step kids who do not have daily access to your family calendar should be given a personal calendar which clearly marks their visitation schedule. All kids in a blended family will appreciate knowing when they will be with each parent. Their calendars should be much smaller, perhaps even pocket sized.

Toiletries and grocery lists
It is a good idea to post a list for the weekly grocery run. If someone in your stepfamily needs something, they must write it down. If what they need is not on the list, then they may do without for a week. This is a great way to teach your kids and step kids how to be responsible for their own needs. Every mom, dad, step mom and step dad in the world has had a child ask them at 9 pm whether they remembered to pick up the snacks for their party at school the next day, even though they never actually told you about it.

Sorting laundry in a blended family can be a headache, especially if some of your kids are the same gender or size or even age. Try to purchase different brands of clothing for each kid, and write it down somewhere. Mark each shirt with names or initials on the tags. Try to have an assigned laundry basket for each child. Once their laundry is ready, they can pick up their basket, and return it after they put their clothing away.

Finding a way to get organized at the beginning of each year can save you hundreds of headaches over the course of the year. Planning celebrations, vacations and other events is much easier when you have a calendar with all of it mapped out. This is a great way to keep your blended family organized.

For additional ideas and advice in managing your blended or stepfamily, The Blended and Step Family Resource Center is ready to assist you with its counseling and coaching services, as well as other resources aimed at promoting strong and successful blended and stepfamilies. Contact us today and let us help to provide you with answers.

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