Thursday, March 19, 2015

Controlling the Chaos: Large Family Style

So I love a good organized system. I have lived and learned, the hard way sometimes, how to get rid of  unnecessary chaos. Below are some of our new and improved systems in place since our two new littles joined our family. Right now we have kids ages, 8, 6, 5, 4, 4, 3, 3. Take a peek below and see how we add a little organization to our lives. :) 

One of the easiest decisions I made was to give each child a day of the week. If it is their assigned day then they get to make special choices, they get to serve snacks and meals to the other kids (one of their favorite things to do), and they get to be the line leader when it is time to go. This completely eliminated arguing over who's turn it was to do something special and fighting over every single time there was a choice to be made. 

Now they all ask, "Who's day is it?" And problem solved! With five kids we did the weekdays and my husband and I got to make choices or it was a free-for-all on the weekends, but now we have seven kids to fill seven days a week! 

Lining up to go out the door for school can be chaotic when you have tired kids.
So to eliminate the pushing and shoving I created line up spots that give each kid their own bubble space. I started after the door mat so I have the space to unlock the door before everyone piles out. The rule is that if it is their special helper day as mentioned above, then they get to be the line leader that day. The rest of the spots are free choice.  When the kids are ready with their shoes, coat, and backpack they get to go line up and I know they are ready to go. They love it and it has worked so well! This is one of my favorite ways we control the unneeded chaos. No more crowding each other, knocking each other over, there is a perfect amount of bubble space marked with painters tape on the floor.

Because we have to leave early in the morning with more kids to get out the door, laying out shoes, backpacks and coats for everyone has been a huge lifesaver. When we don't have school the next morning these are all tucked away (hopefully in their correct place) inside our new and improved coat closet! You can see that DIY project HERE.  However, in our busy life sometimes they can still pile up in the bottom of our closet or make their way around the house. :) Our morning can quickly become stressful if I have to crawl around looking for shoes under couches or any of the other amazing places I have discovered them.  :) 
Our kids LOVE to serve at meal time. So they each take turns on their special day passing out plates. We usually dish up on the kitchen island because we have several different dietary needs and it allows my husband and I to make sure everyone gets the right food. Colors can become a big fight so our motto is, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit."
I have to say I am a bit OCD with my plates. I can't have similar colors touching each other, when I lay them out. :)

We actually have these plates with four sections and some with three sections and some with no sections at all. I know it sounds like a lot of choices but I love my options and can't bare to get rid of any of them. We have kids who hate food touching or have sensory meal time needs and these work so great. 

Our banister upstairs is where I lay out all of their clothes for the next day. Then they can all grab them  and get dressed before they go downstairs for breakfast. Thankfully I am able to squeeze all seven outfits on the banister. We go from oldest to youngest. Again another huge time saver in the morning.  So far I am happy to say I don't get a lot of protesting about my outfit choices, except if one of the girls has a skirt or dress then the other girls want to wear one too. :) 

I made this coaster set over two years ago and I am still super thankful for it!  Luckily, I had two extra coasters I had previously made, and I could add them on the sides for our new kids. If they end of staying longer I love an excuse to have make a new one. :)

 I love this because I don't have to worry about each kid having a clean cup in a specific color etc.. They have their names in stickers on their coaster, which is sprayed with a seal so any dripping or spillage, will not damage the coaster. 

Sometimes I use the space behind the coaster to keep track of snack bowls through out the day. They can be a great spot for the kids to keep their snack if they didn't finish, or to use for another dry snack later in the day. Usually we use these for pretzels, popcorn, trail mix and crackers. Every night I replace them with new fresh cups, unless I suspect sharing and grabbing the wrong cups then I switch them all with new cups. :)

This DIY Project has saved me on tons of dishes and from hearing the question, "Is this cup mine?" The kids know to keep their cup on their coaster or at the table when eating and it prevents them from ending up around the house or spilling on the carpet. 

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