Family Events Made Easy

Health, Home & Family
on September 3, 2006

Events such as vacations, celebrations and holidays are crucial to a family’s culture and cohesion, and go a long way in building fond memories for parents and children. Of course, preparing for these events can take time and add work to your already-busy schedule. But planning ahead and sharing the work can help you manage such occasions—and enjoy them as well. Here are some tips to guide you along the way.

Check your calendar. Mark special occasions and events that will occur—birthdays, holidays, etc.—then list the events you want to occur: a family ski trip, Super Bowl party or a summer barbecue. Once these are written on your calendar, they’ll serve as reminders to keep an eye out for airfare sales, menu ideas and party items.

Just say no. Pass up any invitations or demands that infringe on times you’ve designated as important to your family.

Create a planning sheet for each occasion. This keeps information in one place and helps you feel less overwhelmed. As you research and learn important details pertaining to events, such as skating rink rental fees for your daughter’s birthday, write down the information on a planning sheet.

Build a family Special Events Team. Working as a team toward a common goal promotes family bonding and teaches children important life skills. Gather your family and discuss the items on your planning sheet. Ask for input and volunteers. When family members sign up for certain tasks, negotiate deadlines and then meet again to make sure everyone is following through.

Think through the what-ifs. Envision what you would do if the electricity went out during a party or a thunderstorm foiled your canoe trip with the kids. Contingency planning can mean the difference between chaos and calm.

Forget perfectionism and focus on fun. Remember, your goal is to make memories, not ulcers.

Recap. When the event is over, make notes about what worked and what didn’t, and list suggestions for next time. You’ll save time and trouble next year.