Monday, April 29, 2013

Mom Helper....Dinner Helper....Blue Bucket

On my last post I said I would explain what "mom helper, dinner helper, and blue bucket" are. These three jobs are listed daily for my kids and are a big help to me.  Let's start with "Mom Helper" first.

These are all jobs that need to be done once or twice a week.  You'll notice that each kid has a day a week off from "mom helper".  I scheduled this around their schedules and when they are the busiest.   For the most part these take them anywhere from 5-10 minutes from start to finish, but save me an hour.  They also give them a little ownership in a clean house.
Next is "Dinner Helper".  This is exactly what it sounds like, how each child helps with dinner.  It is very important to us to eat dinner as family as often as we can.  If you have teenagers you'll understand that it doesn't happen as often as it used to.  Especially with kids having jobs, and I'll soon have two teenage work schedules to deal with. 
On the top part of my menu board is where my dinner helper schedule is.  We've had different types of dinner helper charts before, usually ones that rotate through in order.  The rotation schedules don't work for us any more because of the crazy schedules of 5 kids.  So, I've set it up for how it works for our schedule.  For example Tuesday afternoons are CrAZy at our house.  My oldest daughter has dance from 3:30-5:15, my middle daughter has dance from 4:30-6:00 and my youngest daughter from 6:30-7:30 (with me running them back and forth).  So.....we have from 6:05-6:25 to eat (luckily dance is close).  My youngest helps make dinner (prep) that night since she doesn't have to be to dance till after we eat.  My middle daughter clears and wipes the counters after dinner, and my oldest daughter does the dishes.
Since Kaden has a job without a set schedule, he does what he can around his work schedule.  This seems to work well for us. Obviously the older kids can do a lot more than the younger ones.  I love when my two oldest girls are on prep, it means a light night of cooking for me.  My youngest two love to be on prep and are able to do a little more every week.  It's a great time to spend a little one on one time with them, and they are learning cooking skills at the same time.  One of my favorite nights is when my 8 year old has dishes, I hear all sorts of stories that night!
Now for the "blue bucket"....????
 It had been one of those days....You know the one where the kids leave for school and you wonder when you became the maid?!  I actually went around the house and took pictures of every room so I could show everyone what the house looked like when they all left.  I know I should have just left it for them to clean up......instead, I picked everything up and piled it in a big blue tote.  I was D.O.N.E. being the maid.  Cook, chauffeur, laundry lady, hair dresser and mentor, those I was fine with (as long as I got a little help and appreciation).  Maid.....NOT gonna happen!  So, before they could go do anything, they had to put their stuff away. order to put their stuff away, they had to earn it back first.  5 minutes for each item.  5 minutes of jobs off the blue bucket list.  Oh you should have heard the moaning when some had over TWO hours of jobs.  Yep that means more than 24 things they had left out in one afternoon/evening.  The hardest part was coming up with over 5 hours worth of jobs.....this is where the weekly and monthly job lists come in handy.  And, I always have baseboards that need scrubbed.  We kept the "blue bucket" in the bottom of the coat closet for a while.  Problem was....out of sight, out of mind.  Pretty soon, I'd go to put something in the blue bucket while the kids were at school, and it was piled so high I couldn't even balance it.  So the blue bucket moved to the side of the couch in the family room.  Yuck!  Who wants a big blue tote sitting in their clean family room?  Not me! our "blue bucket" is a decorative white metal box.  My oldest asked the other day when we were going to change the name to the white box....we're not, blue bucket it is.  It keeps the kids a lot more aware of things they're dropping. it easier to hang this jacket up 10 steps away, or to wipe down bar stools for 5 minutes?  It does get complicated sometimes with, "That's mine, but she was using it and left it out."  If I'm not sure who really got it out and I'm not a battle I'm wanting to pick, there are many times I say, "then it better get put away before I realize it was even here."  This system really has helped keep "stuff" from being left everywhere (most of the time). 
I hope maybe one of these things have given you an idea on how to get just a little more organized in one of these areas. 
I know these are all made for 5 kids and may not work for you, but I'm posting a blank printable of mom helpers and dinner helpers for those who want to try it out.

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