Monday, October 06, 2008

Getting it Done with Toddlers!

One of the things we enjoyed talking about at Mom Group at Church on Wednesday is how we get things done with toddlers running around. It is certainly not easy, especially when they are close in age! I will tell a little about how we are currently managing at this stage of our lives. I hope a few years from now I will look back at this and have children assigned to do a few more of these chores!

Our cleaning goes something like this:

I start a load of laundry first thing every morning before breakfast.
Mondays - I polish furniture upstairs
Tuesdays - I polish furniture downstairs
Wednesdays - I clean bathrooms (except tubs)
Thursdays - I vacuum and mop all hard floors
Fridays - do whatever may not have gotten done on a busy day during the week!
Weekends - I am thrilled if Daddy can take boys somewhere while I spend time organizing!

Daddy is responsible for keeping all trash cans emptied, showers cleaned, and upstairs carpet vacuumed.

Isaac and James are responsible for daily picking up the living room, their bedroom, and keeping their play room clean.

They are not allowed to keep anything in their bedroom other than their clothes, stuffed animals, books, and cd's. (I got tired of their bedroom being a wreck and them not going to sleep due to the toys). They keep their wooden toys in the living room in a wooden chest and all the ugly,plastic, loud, annoying toys in the basement play room. This helps their bedroom to stay nice and clean and allows me to listen to their play a little more. (If there is an argument it is easier to figure out who started it!).

We keep an attractive "catch all " toy basket next to the fire place in living room for random toys that make their way to the living room from the basement or stuffed animals that somehow make their way down the stairs! I go through it when it gets full and have kids return the toys where they go.

All the kids take a bath together and one hamper for all of them is kept in their bathroom. All 3 of them including Sissy are required to put their dirty clothes in it! (this eliminates dirty clothes laying around in their bedrooms)

I got a rack from Wal-mart to hang on the inside of the hall closet door that has wire shelves perfectly sized for holding kids shoes. Each child has one shelf to keep up to 3 pairs of shoes on. If I find their shoe's anywhere but on their feet or on their shelf, they (not Sissy of course) have to take a grocery bag outside and clean out the van. I certainly don't have time to look for anyones lost shoes when we are trying to get somewhere on time! It is amazing how well the boys have started keeping their shoes where they belong!

The children are only allowed to use one cup per day. Their cups are kept upside down on a small clear cutting board by the sink. Isaac is always blue, James is always green, and Sissy is always pink.

We grocery shop at Krogers and I use the kind of buggy with the blue plastic attachment in front where two older children can sit. The boys sit there and Sissy sits in the buggy seat. (yes, people stare and think I am not old enough to be their mother!)
The boys are required to carry all the groceries into the house (except for eggs and super heavy bags) while I put them away.

No one (not even Sissy) is allowed to run off after supper without helping to clean up! All 3 kids clear table and bring everything to Mommy while she is standing at the sink. (I use mostly plastic glasses and melamine plates so nothing gets broken) Daddy wipes off table, and sweeps dining room. (I am hoping this will train them not to run off without helping after supper when they are teenagers!)

Isaac gets the mail most days and brings it to me. I sort through it and put what we need to keep in a basket on top of the refrigerater to eliminate kitchen counters getting junked up or important mail being toted off by a toddler!

If I am doing a chore while the kids are around I ask them to help, for instance if I am unloading the dishwasher then I have Isaac organize the silverware into the silverware tray. If I am doing the laundry then I get them to switch it or get clothes out of the dryer.

That is pretty much it! Everything does not always get done but at least we have a goal! If it has been a busy week we will use the weekend to catch up on things. If you have any other idea's on ways to manage every day tasks with toddlers, please leave me a comment!

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