10 Tips for Keeping Ahead of the Kids
Did you ever have one of those great days when you did everything right and felt like a SuperParent? A day when everyone was sent to school impeccably dressed, hair expertly styled, with nutritious snacks and lunches? A day when you didn’t get phone calls from the school and have to spend half of your time locating and dropping off forms and books that are overdue? A day when you don’t leave a kid stranded somewhere because you forget to pick them up, you get everyone to their after-school activities on time, you have enough time to tutor your kids cheerfully while they do their homework and make a delicious 5 course meal that everyone loves before bathing them all, reading to them and tucking them into their beds on time? Me neither.
I am desperate for tricks to make things run more smoothly. Below are some of my favorites. Do you have any tricks?
1) Pre-loaded toothbrushes. Just before they wake up, and a little before bedtime, I put toothpaste on everyone’s toothbrush. It helps keep the bathroom a lot cleaner, and I always know who didn’t brush their teeth because the paste is still on the brush!
2) Color coordinate. Each child has a different favorite color. Whenever I buy multiple kid items I buy one in each of their colors. It cuts down on fighting and they can easily find their own items.
3) Shoe baskets and uniform bins. Lost shoes and uniforms were a constant problem. Now everyone has a shoe basket next to the door. Shoes are not allowed to leave the entrance way – they have to go in the basket. In the closet there is a plastic drawer for each kid to keep all uniforms.
4) The whiteboard! If it is not on the whiteboard, we won’t be there. My kids have even started writing things on the board – “Go to toy store”.
5) I always carry a Sharpie. This is a trick I learned working in a lab – to claim it, label it. When #2 above won’t work, I use the permanent ink marker that I carry in my purse. Five identical blue plastic hippos? No problem.
6) Pre-feed. About a half hour before dinner time I like to put out plates of fresh-cut vegetables or fruit on the table. The kids pick on them until dinner. It cuts down on the dinner time mayhem and it gets them to eat more of the healthy stuff.
7) Post-it. The kids always seem to “forget” how to clean their rooms or get ready for bed. For tasks that they do over and over, write down the steps clearly on a piece of paper and hang where they can see it while they are doing the task.
8) The car basket. I keep a basket in the car loaded with goodies for when the kids need entertaining on the run. Crayons, books, stickers, paper and scissors are always in the basket. I also like to keep glow sticks in the car for when we get stuck in traffic. They can really lighten the mood!
9) See it, do it. If I take a piece of paper out of a kid’s school folder that needs a signature or check, or we get an overdue library slip, I take care of it immediately and put the needed items into their bags. I know if I put it aside “to do later” I will forget about it until about a week after it is due.
10) Dryer sheets. I am extremely offended by smells. Having 4 boys I feel like I am constantly assaulted by pungent odors. Dryer sheets are my saviors for anyplace that kids store things. Drawers, the uniform bin, trashcans, I even shove them into their shoes at night.