With the end of summer finally here, I’m actually feeling thankful for the routines and schedules to start flooding my life. We sure have had fun vacationing and making memories, but after almost two years of us working and schooling from home, this school year is bringing welcomed change to our lives.
I’m having to relearn some useful habits that make my life as a working parent so much easier for our entire family and I wanted to share these tips with you.
Color System– This one was a complete life changer for me. Years ago, I had a friend tell me that she has a color for every person in her family. They have multiple children like I do and by having a color system, the amount of laundry and dishes diminishes.
Each member of the family has a different color that they keep track of for the various items that can get mixed up easily. For example, each member of my family has a different color cup that they use all day and wash it each night. By each person keeping track of their individually colored cup, not only does it stop the worry of who left a cup unattended or used it last, but it has reduced the use of dishes dramatically! The same goes for plates, towels, and even socks!
This color system also lets me know which child hasn’t taken their dishes to the sink or has left their towel on the bedroom floor. Not to mention, our home has become so much more colorful since implementing this system.
Helping with Dinner– Having the kids help with dinner doesn’t always make life easier, but I strongly believe that they are better eaters and learning life skills because of it.
In my family, each member has a certain job with dinner that is kid friendly and age appropriate. I believe by being involved with the process of family meal making my young boys are appreciating the things we make and have joy and pride when dinner is served.
My youngest loves tossing the salad, my middle guy is proud to be elevated enough in the kitchen to use a knife to chop vegetables. He also loves displaying them on our plate. Mealtime has now become a family gathering that makes all of us happy.
Setting the Table– This is a trick that I’ve taken from my childhood and now I absolutely love seeing my kids table making creations.
While I’m finalizing our family dinner at the stove or oven, I like to keep the younger children safe and out of the kitchen – this is where the job of setting the table for dinner comes in handy for both me (for my sanity) and the kids who are getting excited and restless to eat!
Along with the silverware, napkins and drinks, my boys have begun to take turns picking the centerpiece for dinner every evening. Some nights we have weeds picked from the garden and other days we have extra guests such as Buzz Lightyear and Mr. Potato Head!
It’s always fun to see what they come up with and it’s a great start to our dinner conversation.
Family Questions– Speaking of conversation starters, we started this question jar a few years back and love it!
As a busy, working mom, dinner can be the most sacred time of the day for me. I try my best to have most dinners set aside as important family time. I know the years with children can go by fast and I want to treasure all of these moments while I can. We have questions like “What’s your favorite color?” and “Where should we travel on our next family vacation?”
Over the years, our family’s questions in the jar have accumulated and I love seeing how my kid’s handwriting has developed and how the questions have matured.
Everyone has a Separate Laundry Hamper – This has been a new, but amazing change so far! We all now have our own hampers and do our own laundry.
This is so simple, I can’t believe I didn’t figure it out years ago! Lately, I have learned when everyone has their own hamper, the clothes don’t get mixed up between family members and it has made putting clothes away so much easier.
My kids now take their clean clothes and all I have to do is keep track of each individual hamper. Voila! We’re good to go! However, in my family I choose my battles and folding clothes is one I’m not willing to fight. Therefore, I have set up cubbies with larger bins and just let them toss their clean clothes into them.
Covid Disinfecting Station– We are doing our best to not bring school germs home and one way of doing this is having a disinfecting station in the garage.
As soon as we get home from school (and work), the kids throw their clothes in their hampers (we’ve moved them to the garage for the time being) and leave backpacks and shoes out there while they run in and take their shower for the night. Call me a germophobe, but I like to spray everything down with Lysol and do a quick wash of their masks and we’re ready for the next day. This way the rest of the evening I can relax….. or try too anyway!
Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Send me a note! Until then I’m hoping you are as happy as I am to have some normalcy back into my boys lives!