What Is a Family To Do List?

A family to-do list is a basic list that itemizes activities and events that people can do together as a family. It can come in different forms and formats but its main objective is to strengthen bonds and family ties.    

According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, quality is more important than quantity when it comes to family life or spending time with children. Multiple research has shown family quality time has a profound positive effect on children as they grow up.  

Ideas for a Family To Do List 

Daily life and routine for many families usually consists of picking up the kids from school, cooking, cleaning, paying the bills, etc. These are obligations and are rarely activities that require intentional bonding. Keep it interesting with fun activities the whole family can partake in and even enjoy together. The following examples are just a few suggestions:  

Have a Game Night: This can liven up any normal Tuesday night. Activities that don’t require going out of the house have become all the more important during the pandemic. Playing game night as a family can be a fun challenge for everyone; and it can even foster healthy competition. Board games, card games, and even a fun trivia night can boost bonding and interaction. Go on a Family Vacation: Everyone needs to get away from the hectic and even sometimes mundane routine that many people-adults and children alike-are faced with. Planning a family vacation or an out-of-town trip can be a welcome pause and break from all the stress and problems of everyday life. Parents can include the kids in the planning phase and get their ideas on to potential destinations. You don’t need to break the bank to go on vacation. There are dozens of affordable options available today. And you know what they say, it’s not necessarily the place itself that matters but the people you’re sharing the experience with. Do Some Chores: Chores can be, quite literally, a chore. But with a little imagination and a shift in perspective, it can be a productive activity that the whole family can partake in. Instead of enforcing a rigid cleaning schedule for everyone, you can make it more enjoyable by slightly tweaking the rules. Give incentive to kids for accomplishing their tasks and chores. Maybe a simple ice cream run afterwards can be a reward if everyone does their part. There are dozens of ways to make duties seem less daunting and serious, you just need to think outside the box. Play Group Sports: Sports are a great way to bond with the family. It not only promotes physical activity, but helps cultivate solidarity and create memories. Group or team sports are a great space for healthy competition too. Family members can form teams and play against each other in friendly competition. Flag football, frisbee, soccer, basketball, or even bowling are just some fun ideas. Go Camping: Another fun way to bring the whole family together is through outdoor activities. Regular camping can help sharpen basic survival skills and could be a good learning experience for young children. If camping is too much, going on a nice picnic is another alternative. The food, the relaxation, and fresh air will do the whole family good. Many families take regular camping trips. The natural environment has a lot to offer and it’s no secret that being around nature can actually be therapeutic. Read Books: It may sound boring, but sitting around together with everyone reading their own book is a deeply personal and intimate way to bond as a family. It is also one way of taking a quick gadget and technology detox. With all the phones, computers, or tablets set aside, it will make you appreciate actual quiet time and quality time. You can even share insights and ideas on the books within small family discussions. Go Shopping: Doing errands as a family is both fun and productive. Parents could use the extra pair of helping hands when grocery shopping. Assign mini tasks for each family member to make sure each one gets to contribute. It’s a fun way to spend the day with the family; it only does not get things done, it builds precious family memories too. Cook and Bake: Many people found themselves cooking, baking, and experimenting in the kitchen over the course of quarantine. Make it more fun by involving the whole family. Instead of having just one person prepare the meals, each one must have a role in the preparation and presentation of meals– from the chopping and cooking to setting the table. The best part is being able to eat the meal together. Sharing meals is probably one of the most basic and easiest ways to bond with the family. Visit Relatives: Another way of spending time with family is by reaching out to relatives or extended family. Go out of your way to see grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even friends who you consider family. You don’t have to spend every waking hour with them but maintaining that deep social connection and reliable support system is crucial for one’s emotional well-being and mental health. With technology making it easier to connect to virtually anyone, everyone should make the effort to interact and connect. This cannot be stressed enough especially today because of the isolation and distance brought about by the global pandemic. Volunteer: If you want to elevate your family bonding experience, service is a fool-proof way of doing so. Get involved in your community. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big or small deed, as long as the spirit of helping is alive and present. You can volunteer at a local shelter or hold a mini outreach program at the local orphanage or nursing home. It can be a substantial learning experience for the whole family, especially for the kids. Nowadays, it is important to expose young children to situations apart from what they’re comfortable or familiar with. This not only broadens their horizons, but the experience could also nurture their empathy and compassion.

Tips for Making a Family To Do List Work 

Like all checklists, some items may be more feasible and easier to do than others. It is important for every family to take the time to reflect and really ask themselves if it’s something worth doing and worth committing to. The tips listed below may help manage certain expectations and help you and your family keep your commitments.

Schedule family time. What’s the point in creating a family to do list if everyone’s busy with their own lives and have no time to spare. Regular family time is crucial if one of your goals is to forge stronger connections with each other. You can’t expect to know what’s going on in your parents, children, or siblings’ lives if you don’t make the time to do so. It does not even need to be grand and complicated. Sharing at least one meal everyday as a family is already a huge accomplishment. Or a simple round table discussion over coffee or tea and simply sharing updates about each other’s lives is already great progress. Set aside ‘me’ time. Family time is important. But it’s also equally important to set aside time for yourself. Maintaining a healthy balance between your different relationships with people and the relationship with yourself is critical. You do not want to be constantly drained of energy and resources that you end up not having anything to give to others. This pertains to the important things like your time, energy, mental space, and emotions. Take the time to recharge and refill your tank every now and then. One way of achieving this is by setting aside regular quiet time. Allow yourself to relax and do what makes you happy and fulfilled. Exchange ideas and give feedback. It is important to foster an air of openness and understanding in the home. Of course, this is easier said than done. Conflict and disagreements are inevitable. But one way to ease tensions or tempers is by laying it out in the open. It is important to talk about issues and not allow them to simmer for long periods of time. Doing so will only create more tension. It is absolutely essential to create a space of non-judgment; this will encourage family members to open up rather than shut you out. People tend to open up when they have some assurance that they won’t be immediately judged; or when there is an abundant feeling of empathy. Show support. It is important to be encouraging to each family member. It’s just good for solidarity and fraternity when everyone is supportive of each other. Cheering someone on can have positive effects on an individual’s own perception of his or her abilities and confidence. Especially in a world that’s so keen on finding fault in everything, a solid support group is essential not just for the family, but for all individuals.

How to Create a Family To Do List

A family to do list is one of the more simple written forms that’s quite easy to make. It does not take much to create one. Follow the simple guide below to get started: 

Step 1: Brainstorm with the Family

Before starting on any list, it is important to sit down together as a family and gather ideas. It will not work if only one member of the family dictates what is to be done. Parents could include their children in the brainstorming process. The more family members contribute, the more dynamic and inclusive the list will  be. 

Step 2: Decide What Kind of To Do List

A to do list is often all encompassing and it is best to narrow your choices down. Family to do lists may be just a regular checklist, a task list, errand or shopping list, or even a bucket list.  A list serves the basic purpose of organizing your information. Whatever you and your family decide, a to do list is an excellent guide to help every member track their different priorities.

Step 3: Observe a Format

After you decide what type of to do list is best for your family, use the appropriate format. The easiest and most convenient way is by using an Excel spreadsheet. Or just to make it easier, you could use one of the existing templates above too. Simply download the document and customize it to fit your needs. Lastly, it is up to you to decide on the fine details of your list- the size, font, headings, sections, etc.   

Step 4: List Down Activities and Tasks

The best thing about a family to do list is any family member can contribute and add to the list. If you are looking to get some inspiration for your own list, the ideas above are sure to get your creative juices flowing. Whether for work or leisure, you want to keep tabs on your different family activities to save you any unnecessary inconvenience. Once a task or activity is completed, simply cross out it out.  


How do I make a family to do list?

Open a new spreadsheet using MS Excel. Format it the way you want, list down the tasks and activities you and your family need (or want) to do. Add any extra columns for checkboxes or other remarks. Make sure to update it regularly.

Is there a way to share a to do list?

You can share a to do list with members of your family the traditional way by adding their email address or by sharing the link with them. There are also several apps, like Todoist, that help you sync and share your to do lists.

Is there an app to share to do lists?

There are dozens of apps and online tools you can take advantage of to share to do lists. Some of these include Google Keep, Microsoft To-Do, Todoist, and Wunderlist.

The quality of your familial relationships depends on how intentional and nurturing your attention to it is. Making time for family is essential if you want to strengthen your relationships. A family to do list may be simple, but it’s a good start. Check out the sample templates above and start planning now!