It's the most wonderful time of the year…

Oops.  Did I say type that out loud? 

Anyone remember that Staples commercial from a couple years ago?  The women singing that song while gleefully flinging school supplies into her basket?

Moving on.

We are officially back into the school swing of things.  PJ had a half day yesterday and his first full day today.  Mia started today as well.

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 PJ comes home with the standard “good,” “nothing,” “fine” answers.  Mia comes home singing…


In a magazine article I read (it was either in Maryland Family or Baltimores Child), a mom of a large family* said she found value in a large family because she humanly couldn’t do it all (cooking, cleaning, etc) and it forced her children to help out–out of necessity.  I thought, I don’t need 4 kids to learn that lesson.  So I decided sometime last year that I did not have to have a large family to run mine like one. Thinking like a mom of lots of kids has helped me come up with all kinds of sanity-savers.

*more than 4 kids

1.  Even if you can do it all (and sometimes with toddlers it’s easier to do it all), make your kids help out like you can’t.  Our kids clear off their dishes straight to the dishwasher, get their own breakfast, do laundry, help change their sheets, pick up their toys, and help each other on a regular basis.  They’ve also set the table on occasion (I really need to get better about this). 

2.  Use a creative discipline system (Ty’s a little young but we’ll phase him in eventually).  We’re using a traffic light system because that’s what PJ uses in school.  I have a traffic light and each child’s name laminated and taped to the wall.  When one of the kids doesn’t listen well, I calmly tell them to move their name to yellow (usually this means 5 minutes less of screen time).  Yellow represents, SLOW DOWN and listen more carefully.  If it happens again, they move to red (no screen time).  That way I can remember at screen time who stands where.  They can earn back green for an action ABOVE and BEYOND.  In 2 weeks, no one’s made it to red.  The visual aid has helped the kids a lot, too.


3.  Get organized with the little things.  Our big thing this year has been food.  I made a food chart and lots of food stickers for the kids.  The night before they choose their breakfast and lunch.  It has eliminated my constant frustration when I ask, “What do you want to eat?” and they respond, “What is there?”  The options are the same everyday but I always had to list them with Mia insisting, “Go, slower on me.”  Now, they can see all the options and I can hold them accountable for their decisions.  I can pack lunch the night before and have breakfast ready when they get up.  It’s been a big help so far.


4.  If you haven’t read about our calendar system.  You should do that too.  I mean, if you want.  I can’t make you.  I can just tell you it revolutionized PJ’s life at 3 and his friend, Z’s.

Stay tuned…I think I’m moving to dots on socks next.

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