If you’re like the typical American family with school-age children, then you know how complicated the family calendar can be. It’s a challenge that can rival worldwide, multinational corporations in terms of complicated logistics. From soccer practice to school projects, dance lessons to music classes, play dates to dentist appointments…life is hectic! How do you keep track of everything?

Different families choose different methods of organizing and communicating their calendars. There’s always the free insurance company calendar on the kitchen wall, covered in different color inks, scribbles, phone numbers, and more. The advent of the “stickie note” created more flexibility – but also a lot more mess. Same with notes stuck to the refrigerator, chalkboards, whiteboards, corkboards, etc.  One thing we can all agree on – we all like to have a single, central location to corral the details and dates.

One family we know creates a family calendar every year using a company like Shutterfly. You can upload your own photos from family events and fun times, and create a professional printed calendar – they make great gifts for grandparents, aunts and uncles, too!

There are some great high-tech solutions to family calendar management. You can create a Google calendar which is private and accessible via unique URL by any family member. Mom and Dad and post doctor appointments or family activities, teens can post sports events and school projects.

If you use iCal on Mac computers, you can create a family calendar and then sync it to all users in the family.

A unique (and free!) service called Cozi is made specifically for managing family calendars. It’s got a mobile app, too, so you can check, manage and update your family’s calendar from your smartphone. Famundo is another free family calendar service online. One of the best features of online calendars – whether Google, Cozi, Famundo, iCal or whatever – you can set up electronic reminders to make sure family members don’t miss important events or dates.

It seems pretty likely that the old-school calendar with stickie notes and scribbled reminders is soon to be a thing of the past. As more and more parents and kids carry smartphones, iPads and other electronic devices, it makes sense to put these devices to work to solve one of the biggest challenges on the planet – your family calendar!