My Busy Week

Edit: The My Busy Week planners are now available on a pre-order basis. The My Big Plans planners are no longer available. Check out the Eternal Magpie website for details here.

Throughout my life I've had many different people comment on how organised I am. This, however, is an illusion and certainly doesn't extend to my housekeeping! If something's not written down, it doesn't get done. I do love a list though, and stationery, so that works pretty well for me. I've always had a planner of some form or another, and a million and one notebooks lying around with various lists in. I have found coordinating the diaries and lists of four people and a cat (he has a surprising number of commitments!) quite tricky so have recently jumped onto the bullet journal band wagon. Who knew that there was such a huge online community focused on what is essentially a neat system to keep all your appointments and lists in one place?!

It does appear that I'm not the only one in the house who likes to know what we're doing though. About 6 months ago I was getting really fed up of trying to explain what was happening when to my daughter. She was continually asking what our plans were, which of course is fine, but I couldn't really tell her what we were doing more than a day ahead of time. She had no real concept of days or weeks, and she found it hard waiting for fun things to happen.  I happened to be browsing the stationery section of Sainsburys and noticed that they had week-to-view planners on sale. So I picked one up and we developed a little planning system - excuse the phone shadow on the photo.

My daughter was only 2.5 years old when we started this and, obviously, couldn't read so our plans had to be illustrated. Badly. By me. We'd sit down every Monday breakfast time and draw in the plans we had already made. This went up on the fridge and she could look at it whenever she liked. After a couple of days I realised that it was quite tricky to refer her to the appropriate day, so we started colouring the days of the week in. Here I've only coloured "Monday" but that way I could say, "today it's the red day" and she'd know where we were. Now that she recognises letters I can say "Monday. It's the red day that starts with a "M"".

We used this system for months. She liked the routine, liked knowing what we were doing, and around the time we had a lot of upheaval with finishing at her old nursery, ballet class, music class, going on holiday, and then moving house, I think she liked the fact that she could refer to the planner and know what was going on.

A month or so ago my lovely friend Claire at Eternal Magpie got in touch to say she was designing a kids planner as a gift for her niece, but if it worked well she was considering selling it. Would I and some of her other friends be interesting in providing her with some feedback? Erm, yes!  In the end Claire came up with two planners. "My Big Plans" aimed at ages 5 and up, and "My Busy Week" which is aimed at pre-school children. We ordered a "My Busy Week" and absolutely love it. We've only been using it a couple of weeks but we still sit down and fill it in every Monday breakfast time, adding extra bits as the week goes on.

As it's a book, rather than tear off sheets, we've also been able to go a few weeks into the future. The columns are colour coded, there are a couple of clock faces to add wake-up and bed times, and a big box at the bottom for doodling, sticking, writing or whatever you fancy.

My daughter has now taken over much of the illustration duties (phew) and I just add the occasional descriptive word in for her. I think we might need to invest in some stickers for regular activities such as preschool and ballet class.

I know that this wouldn't work for all pre-school children, and some wouldn't be interested in the slightest, but it has really helped her feel like she has some control over her week. The only problem I have now is curbing her stationery addiction as well as my own!