Tech tools to organize busy Chicago families

Q:Are there any tech services that can help keep my family’s activities organized?

While paper calendars and Post-It note reminders still hang on the family fridge, many parents are using technology to stay on top of their busy family schedules.

Calendars

Microsoft Outlook (for Windows) and iCal (for Mac) are basic computer calendar applications common in business and home use. Google Calendar is one of the most popular Web-based applications-it’s free, easy to use and compatible with many other apps and programs. Yahoo Calendar is also a free Web-based scheduling tool and easily integrated with e-mail.

When it comes to calendars specific for families, famundo.com and cozi.com are top choices. Both offer free schedule management systems, designed specifically for families and additional storage and sharing options. Myfamilydayplanner.com is as simple as it gets. Without lots of fluff, families can schedule events, store recipes and make grocery lists.

CustodyPlanner.com offers a free calendar program specially designed to help divorced families schedule shared custody, manage activities and communicate.

Apps

Calengoo, Calvetica Calendar, GoCal and SaiSuke are calendar apps that sync with Google Calendar-great for connecting from mobile devices. YadaHome.com offers a family-friendly organizer and calendar app, along with an online calendar. Features also include to-do and grocery lists. A two-day free trial is available from iTunes.

Families who use Facebook can also sync their Facebook events with Google Calendar. Facebook’s popular Birthday Calendar app allows you to add events and get e-mail reminders of special days. Families should remember to choose a private event status that will only be visible to invitees.

Printable calendars

If you’re looking for a paper calendar, you can find some great tools online. Mommytracked.com offers cute printable calendar pages for weekly and monthly views, as does bluemountain.com, along with monthly calendar wallpaper for your computer.

E-mail, text and call list reminders

Ask your dentist, orthodontist and doctors’ offices if they offer online access to patient appointment schedules or e-mail reminders. Many schools offer daily or weekly e-mails with regular reminders of events and activities, others will offer text reminders or automatic calls if you subscribe to the automatic call list. Take advantage of e-mail, text and call lists through schools, sports organizations, youth groups, health care providers or Scouts to help you stay on top of activities.

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