Tag Archives: Homemaking with Toddlers

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To the Mom Who Doesn’t Have Time

To the Mom who doesn’t have time:

​You know the days where it takes you until lunch time to clean up breakfast? The ones where you efficiently do 3 loads of laundry and then they stack up on the couch? Have you had one of those days where you try ALL day to get supper in the crock pot, the time slot passes you by for both high and low settings, so you decide to cook something on the stove instead… but then that time slot passes as well and you end up serving peanut butter and honey sandwiches for supper—again? And what about those days where your child wants to do a project with you, but you just can’t quite seem to get the house cleaned up enough to clear a spot so you can cut and glue together? Those are the heartbreaking moments. The ones where you want to imagespend time with this sweet child you are raising, but you just don’t seem to have time.

​To the Mom who doesn’t have time, I am right there with you! The days I described above have basically been my life the last few months. I have a baby who nurses hourly around the clock and through the night. I’m exhausted. Our family is in a constant state of the unknown and the emotional aspect of the situation is wearing me down hard. I can’t seem to keep up with anything. Then I wonder, “how am I supposed to spend time with my children?” How do I find time to read the 39 books they so excitedly chose from the library last week? How do I find time to complete the adorable craft projects and educational ideas I’ve been pinning on Pinterest during my many nursing sessions each day? How will my children learn important life skills if I don’t have time to teach them? Then it hit me…

​They will learn them from me and it’s okay if it is through everyday life.

​You see, my kids will learn more from how I handle life than they will sitting on the couch reading a book with me or sitting at the table gluing a perfectly prepared craft project. The difference is in how I choose to respond to the trials set before me.

​I can yell at them to go play in the other room so I can conquer the dishes, or I can choose to demonstrate a right attitude and even teach them how to conquer a daunting task as I systematically rinse off the dishes and put them in the dishwasher before I tackle those I hand wash.

​I can complain about peanut butter and honey sandwiches AGAIN, or I can explain to them the wonders of improvisation as supper approaches and I serve them a different option than planned.

​I can rant about not having enough time, or I can teach them time management as we figure out a way to sneak in a quick craft project.​

​Parenting isn’t about the external. It’s about including your kids on the internal. Transparently showing them the reasons for the things we do, including them on your struggles, openly teaching them through your own mistakes, and honestly relating the truth to them day in and day out. Parenting is about the teachable moments and those moments often come through unlikely circumstances.

​To the mom who doesn’t have time, it’s okay. Let’s make the most of what we do have: everyday life–and teach our children to the best of our abilities.

 

-Lydia

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Cut Your Christmas Decor Take-Down in HALF!

A few years ago I started using an easy trick that cuts

my Christmas decor take-down time in half!!!

(-And also helps with set up next year!)

Here it is!! TADA!!

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I realized that if I just gently take down the garlands/wreaths/swags (WITH THE ORNAMENTS AND LIGHTS STILL ON) and put them each in their own garbage bag [which I re-use year after year], I wouldn’t have to re-decorate and re-pack all the ornaments and lights.

-The Lights DON’t tangle because they are already spread around the garland

- The ornaments (most of ours are plastic) are padded by the garlands/swag/wreath or whatever I’m packing up.

-Everything I need to put the garland/swag/wreath back up next year is all together!

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Then I stack the bags (about 5 to a tote and stack the totes in the basement.

image(This year, I got organized and listed on the outside of each tote what I’d packed inside.)

Of course if you have a lot of glass ornaments this may not work as well.

I estimate I save at least an hour and a half on take-down and another hour on set-up next year, and it helps a lot with trying to keep track of everything with four little kids ‘helping.’

So there is my tip. :-)

-Verity

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Snowman Kit in a Jar!

IMG_3105Sometimes you need a fast, easy, cheap (or free), super cute, and practical gift for a child. I guess that sounds like a lot of criteria to fill, BUT I came up with the perfect idea and I can’t wait to share it with you!

It’s no secret on this blog that I LOVE play dough. I love making it, I love all the possibilities it presents, and I love that my kids can keep busy with it for long periods of time. :-)

I also love invitations to play, but they require so many pieces it’s a hard thing to give as a gift—until today!

I present to you: Snowmen in a jar!

Aren’t they cute?!?!

I started by making THIS recipe, but I added 1 teaspoon peppermintIMG_3101extract. (Did you know they are selling it at Aldi right now? So cheap!!) After the play dough was cooked, I added a bunch of glitter while I kneaded it on the wax paper. Ta da! Snow!

One batch of play dough is the exact amount you need to fill 3 baby food jars.

Next I just used items I had around the house. You could use anything! I chose 3 small pom poms in matching colors to be the buttons for each snowman. Then I cut green pipe cleaners for arms—I got 10 out of 1 pipe cleaner to give an idea of length. Next, I cut red pipe cleaner in slightly smaller segments for the carrot. Beads would work for eyes, or googly eyes.

I’m sure there are lots of great possibilities, but I was just using what I had.

I put everything into baby food jars—free containers! Any little container would work though—even Ziploc bags. I used black fabric paint to make eyes and a smile and then I used orange for a big carrot nose. I colored the lid with a big, thick permanent marker to look like a hat.

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To fill the jars:

Divide one batch of play dough into 3 parts. Roll each part into the shape and size of a small, chubby hot dog and slowly lower it into the jar being sure to fill the entire thing. You might need to smush it in with your fingers to get the air out. It should fill the main part of the jar perfectly.

Next, I laid the decorations on the top of the play dough—there is the exact amount of space you need for them!

Screw the lid on and you have a fun, fast, easy, cheap (or free), super cute, and practical gift for a child!

-Lydia

 

Letting Them Help – Part 2

House 1Well, 3 weeks ago, I glibly promised that I’d post the following week on how we do chores in our house.

Of course after promising that we had a couple messy days  (followed by a couple naughty days) which made me feel unsure of writing about something in which I’ve not yet arrived.

However, it’s been a helpful couple weeks for me – nothing like promising all my digital friends that I’d share about our chore systems, to help me reevaluate!

So I’m going to share what works for us, areas we are working on, and areas we need work – and then I’d love for my readers to share suggestions and thoughts!

What is Working for Us:

1. Having a Cleaning SYSTEM

My Mom is the best housekeeper ever. She is a natural, and she always made cleaning look SO EASY.

I am not a natural – and even though I KNEW how to do everything (since she had taught me), I NEVER knew where to start. I wasted so much time the first couple years of marriage just standing in the middle of clutter-filled rooms staring blankly around and feeling defeated.

I finally realized that I needed a system – (I think it barely even matters what the system is – just to have one. It is a starting point, a map, and the oil that helps you move faster down the track to your day and sweet productivity.)

Here are our systems. If you ask my 3 or 5 year olds. They will (hopefully) be able to recite it to you.

It is my heartfelt goal that they not get overwhelmed but always know where to start. (On anything – but we’re talking about cleaning today.  

Our system when cleaning is always in this order:

(Left to Right)

(Top to Bottom)

1. Clear Big Items

2. Clear Garbage

3. Put Away In-Room Clutter

4. Put Away Out-of-Room Clutter

Example of Dining Room Table after Breakfast Using This System:

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I clear the big items (Crockpot or Gallon of Milk)image

Kids clear the garbage (Napkins)

I grab the in-room clutter (My husband’s iPad)

(I wasn’t fast enough – they cleared other stuff too for this pic)

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Kids Carry out-of-room clutter to the kitchen table to be put away. (Small food items and dirty dishes.)

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Wipe off High Chair on Left then Table then Bumbo Seat and Tray on Right (Left to Right)

Sweep Floor (Top to Bottom)

imageThis System works really well for us in any room. We use it daily in the living room and their bedroom as well. (So at least three times a day you’ll hear me say “what do we look for first?” and hear my son say “garbage!”)

 2. Having a Cleaning Routine

Again, it doesn’t matter the order, but it helps to do the same tasks in the same order.

Less decisions – more productivity!

As soon as my husband leaves in the morning we clear the table, straighten up the living room, get dressed, straighten the bedroom, clean the bathroom (If we have time), get the laundry and feed the dog.

A routine helps us start each day strong. (Of course things may be messy 10 minutes into the day… but oh well! LOL!

3. Each child has their own chores first thing in the morning – before we start our day.

If we are doing well, we are dressed and have everything cleaned up half an hour after my husband leaves for work. (About 8:30) But that can range. (9:00 is our average.) 9:30 is a bad day. 10:00 is a really bad day. :-/

I wrote about their chores here.

4. Each Child responsible for their own basket of toys

A year ago, I got rid of the big toy box and each child has their own basket of toys to take responsibility for.

(We also have a play room downstairs in the basement that I will eventually write an article about. )

I wrote about their separate upstairs toys here.

5. Children Allowed to Earn Money

imageSince my oldest was 3, I’ve allowed the kids to do extra jobs for money. They each save up for items.

This has helped them understand the value of a dollar, and they know that while I rarely buy them new toys, they always have the option of working for something themselves.

(The pic is ash. It’s messy, but I let him clear it because he LOVES to help clean the fireplace. It’s not smoke.)

Areas I’ve tweaked that last couple weeks:

1. We Clean Each Room TOGETHERimage

As mentioned in my previous chore article, the kids have picture chore lists.  This way they could refer to their lists and complete their chores themselves. Lately we’d had problems with them not staying on task so I’ve we now do our chores together.

- We ALL clear the table

- We ALL clean up the clutter in the living room

- We ALL sweep (they move chairs) and I do most of the sweeping while they help with their little brooms

- They ALL change at the same time. (Jedidiah sometimes takes to the bathroom. He has days when he’s suddenly obsessed with modesty and days when he’s …not.)

-  We ALL wipe down the bathroom,

- Jedidiah usually finishes getting the laundry and feeding the dog while I get school books.

This way I help stay on task

It also became more essential to have their toy baskets stay on their shelves to help them stay on task.

2. Toy Baskets that actually FIT on the Shelves in their room!!!

It also became more essential to have their toy baskets stay on their shelves to help them stay on task.

(Out of mind and out of sight!!)

Before they each had their own baskets, but I let them leave them on the floor or in their beds because they did not fit on the shelves.

Since we are moving the baby, (CHILD NUMBER 4 into their 10X10 room) in a couple weeks, we needed to rethink their closet system.

(I wrote about having the 3 kids in a 10X10 room here.)

(Thank you, sweet husband for the $125 worth of [super-cute, Container Store,  hyacinth, I promise this was an important purchase, complete life-saver] baskets.)

Old baskets were traded in, and now (Exciting music), they each have their own toy basket (and will soon have their own basket to put away their play clothes.)

(Pictures of their new closet system coming soon!)

Areas We Need Work: (Suggestions Welcome!)

1. Breastfeeding Baby

We have a 10 month old, and (though neither Lyd nor I have written about it) breastfeeding is not a 10 minute thing for us. On growth-spurt days, everything else falls apart because Mama is attached to baby.

Such is life. :-I

2. Getting up Before Them

My husband is a night owl, and I choose to stay up with him. I used to rise before the house. Now I grudgingly roll out when I hear the first child’s steps in the hall.

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I even set my alarm early a few times a week thinking I’ll get things pulled together before the house wakes, but I rarely do. (Except Sundays – no choice)

3. Just Being with Them

Digital friend Jeanne commented last week that “What helped me a lot to enjoy it is when I decided I would just not care about the mess WHILE doing activities together and just deal with it later on. Then, I could relax and enjoy.”

I’ve been thinking about that a lot the last weeks.

This is probably the biggest area that needs work – MY ATTITUDE! I need to enjoy the time with them even when our ‘morning routine’ fell apart or when the clutter takes over. Pray for me here friends!

There is what is working, is a work in progress, and what needs work!

Any thoughts? What works in your routines?

-Verity

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Letting Them Help: Part 1

Painting House for Normal Person:

8:00 Go Outside and Paint Two Sides of (Small) House

10:00 Snack

10:15 FINISH Painting House

12:00 Eat Lunch

Take Afternoon Off.

 

Painting House with Small Children:

7:30 Dress Everyone

8:00 Help them with Chores

8:30 Summer Preschool Time (Focuses Little Minds)

9:00 Baby Wakes! Feed/Change Baby

9:45 Set Up Baby and Kids in Fenced Yard

9:50 Spend 10 Minutes Explaining to 3 Year Old How to Paint (Today Other Kids are Going to Play. Only One Kid with a Paintbrush – thank you!)

10:00 START PAINTING!

(Stop 27 Times to Give Baby a Veggie Stick, 4 times to Help 2 Year Old, Once to Give 4 Year old a Time out, Once to Give 4 year old Something Else,  32 times to help 3 Year old with Brush, and [of course!] Accidentally Drip Paint in Her Hair!!)

10:47 Go Inside to clean up little people, make them lunch do potty breaks, diaper changes, and toss them in bed for naps!

12:00 ( Accomplished:  1/3 of a side of the house)

Admittedly Painting with a 3 year old is a little extreme but the example could hold true to any activity.


IT IS SO MUCH EASIER TO DO IT WITHOUT ‘HELP’
Cooking, planting, and basic chores take so much more thought and time with little helpers.

But as tempting as it is to stick them all in front of the TV so I CAN ACTUALLY GET SOMETHING ACCOMPLISHED I am try really hard to use their ‘help’

(I do resort to the TV sometimes, but I try to view it as a ‘last resort’ for desperate times. Some weeks are definitely more desperate then others.)

But for the day in and day out. I try really hard to let them work with me.Helpers 1

  1. I Want that Time with Them OVER Getting More Done

Sometimes I have to repeat this to myself. I’m not a SAHM to have an immaculate house or gourmet meals, and if something has to give, it cannot be the kids.

It is really hard to remember that though!

(We unfortunately have a web filled with moms who are trying to ‘have it all’ – perfectly decorated and outstandingly clean homes, incredibly dressed children, and thriving careers. And between Pinterest  and parenting forums and Facebook we become Mommy ping-pong balls – bouncing from one great idea to another. And rather than just soak up the minutes with our children, we look around and recognize our life does not measure up to all of the great ideas online.)

BUT our kids are why we are here. We are Stay at Home MOMS. So if we can get a cool Pinterest-worthy project done, that’s really just icing on the cake!

2. It is Fun to Work with Them!

I’ve made cake 100 times, but nothing is as fun as watching their little faces pour in the ingredients. Every task is new and interesting again!

3.  It is a Perfect Time to Teach

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Through the kids helping me, I have learned that one of them only works for seven minutes before he/she becomes bored. This has been a vital time to help him/her push past comfort zones and learn to work. An important lesson to carry through life!

4. To Each His Own

A friend recently shared how she put all of her dishes down on the lower counter level so the kids could independently put them away and set the table. It was a great idea for her family.

This idea would not work for us. Our present schedule, kitchen layout, and the vision of an 8 month pregnant me jerking out dishes at floor-level, makes the the setup almost stomach churning.

5. Kids Take Pride in Their Work

I still remember helping as a kid. We were taking off old laminate flooring. Mom gave Lyd and I (Maybe 5 years old?) each little kitchen spatulas and we went to work – scraping, peeling. We were proud of our progress!

God gave man work right at the beginning of the world – before the fall. It is good, natural and right for us to enjoy watching the fruit of our hands. (Ecclesiastes 12)

6. Eventually they WILL be a Help

(I’ve heard) The Amish have a saying. You invest into your children their first 7 years. At seven, they can earn their own keep. Around 10, they contribute to the family.

Hours teaching now, will make things easier (for the whole family!) later.

So at the end of the day, I may not have a fully painted house.

I have 1/3 of the side of the house painted, and a very happy three-year-old (with a little paint in her hair) proudly showing me her work. She learned to pay attention to detail and get all the cracks, she had 47 minutes to be with me (that was actually more focused then normal), and she learned that when she works hard, she has fruit to show for it!

Very productive morning for us! :-)

-Verity

I’m publishing part 2 of this series next Friday – Teaching Them to Help. :-)

Toddler Chore Chart

photo 2Several months ago we implemented simple chores into the kids’ morning routine.

The issue I immediately ran into was that toddlers need a way to keep track of what chores to do, but they can’t READ a list.

(And I REALLY don’t like nagging … er …having to be their verbal reminder)

All the charts I found online had the chore list written out and then a picture next to each item, but I decided to simplify the chart down to the bare bones, and this has worked wonderfully.

I also tacked each of the charts on their favorite color of card stock, put the first letter of their names on the top (because they can recognize ‘their’ name letter), and stuck it in protective sleeves.

As soon as we finish breakfast each morning, I put the charts in a central location, and they check their charts.

They usually race each other to finish, and I recently started rewarding the winner of the race with a nickel.

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On smooth mornings, we are dressed, with a clean house, and ready to start school half an hour after my husband leaves for work. (Not every morning is smooth, but even on rougher mornings the charts help the kids take responsibility, give us a stronger start and take pressure off.) I also made a chart for before supper. (The times I remember to use it, it works great, but we don’t usually get to it before my husband gets home.)

So these are the toddler chore charts that have worked for us. :-)

-Verity

A Mother’s Time

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about aalice 1 copy great quote taken from Lewis’s Screwtape Letters in which a senior demon teaches a junior demon how to tempt people. 
 
This is relevant for anyone, but I immediately connected it to mothers.
I don’t have ‘a right’ to get a lot accomplished in a day. Every moment is a gift. My children are not stealing time from me when we have a ‘bad’ day, and I don’t have the minutes I want to clean up or complete a project. Every minute is a blessing. I should be thankful for the minutes I have to do projects (or train little hearts) – not feel victimized over the minutes that must be used for unplanned activities.
“My dear Wormwood,

Men are not angered by mere misfortune but by misfortune conceived as injury…. Now you will have noticed that nothing throws him into a passion so easily as to find a tract of time which he reckoned on having at his own disposal unexpectedly taken from him.   It is the unexpected visitor…or the friend’s talkative wife… that throw him out of gear. Now he is not yet so uncharitable or slothful that these small demands on his courtesy are in themselves too much for it. They anger him because he regards his time as his own and feels that it is being stolen. You must therefore zealously guard in his mind the curious assumption ‘My time is my own’. Let him have the feeling that he starts each day as the lawful possessor of twenty-four hours. Let him feel as a grievous tax that portion of this property which he has to make over to his employers, and as a generous donation that further portion which he allows to religious duties. But what he must never be permitted to doubt is that the total from which these deductions have been made was, in some mysterious sense, his own personal birthright. 
You have here a delicate task. The assumption which you want him to go on making is so absurd that, if once it is questioned, even we cannot find a shred of argument in its defence. The man can neither make, nor retain, one moment of time; it all comes to him by pure gift; he might as well regard the sun and moon as his chattels….

When I speak of preserving this assumption in his mind, therefore, the last thing I mean you to do is to furnish him with arguments in its defence. There aren’t any. Your task is purely negative. Don’t let his thoughts come anywhere near it. Wrap a darkness about it, and in the centre of that darkness let his sense of ownership-in-Time lie silent, uninspected, and operative.

Your affectionate uncle,
SCREWTAPE ”

(In Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis in Chapter 21)
I think this is a primary struggle for all Christians – and especially mothers because interruptions and time-sucks are simply an hourly thing. I’m so glad that as a Christian, I can recognize that God is as in control of the interruptions as He is in control of everything else in the universe!
-Verity

Our Toy Decluttering System

Pretty much all moms get frustrated with toy clutter.

I thought a group toy box under their bed and some additional personal toys kept in their own personal spaces would be okay, but we ran into a couple big problems.

(1) No one took responsibility for the clean up of the ‘group’ toys and (2) each hoarded so much in their personal space, they couldn’t fit it all in!

I’ve downsized enough that I did not want to get rid of more of their toys at this time. (Though maybe in a couple months…) However, I did need to remove them from the stress of every day!

A friend said she had taken away all but a few of her kids’ toys until they learned to be responsible enough to clean them up.

This seemed like a great idea. Here’s how it worked for us.

I taped numbered cards on the floor and let each child pick out his or her favorite 10 toys.

Here are pictures of the toys that they picked. photo 1

The top picture is of my 4 year old son’s toys.

photo 2Then my 3 year old daughter’s toys. Yes. She loves dolls.

photo 3Finally the 18 month old’s.

The rest went into a big box which I hid away in the basement.

photo 4

 

If the child wants a toy from the box, he or she has to trade one of his or her ‘special ten.’ The only one who has done this has been my oldest. The girls don’t seem to remember the other toys even exist.


I also took the opportunity to pick out a few car toys that stay in the car. This was a brilliant move! 

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In the last 2 months, my son has ended up with more like 20 toys. He’s proven himself responsible and always cleans them up. Since he wants to keep his 20 toys. the system has motivated him to be more responsible! My 3 year old still has about 10 which fit easily in her personal basket, and my 18 month old has about 7. Toy clutter has become almost nonexistent.

 

Beyond this I keep toy sets locked in two cabinets, but I’m the only one with access to them.

There you have it! This is the system that has worked for us!

-Verity

Minimalist Preschool Boy Wardrobe

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It is fun to get lots of clothes with the first child however, once you start having multiples, you start to get sick of so many pieces to sort and wash!


With my kids playclothes, I dress them in mostly jeans. Then it is very easy to match shirts. The goal is to be able to change your child in the dark and have it match – because everything is mix and match. (Though there are a few exceptions with my daughters who like play dresses.)

My son’s core wardrobe colors are blue, red, dark green and black with a little brown.


5 play shirts (Long sleeved T-shirts in Winter; short sleeved in summer)

4 pair play pants (3 jeans & one other color that matches all his shirts) (In summer there are 3 pairs of shorts and 1 or 2 pair of pants)
Picture1 pair dress pants (2 would be better – a khaki and black)

4 dress shirts

3 play hoodies (Our house is cold)

2 nice sweaters

Play shoes

Boots

Slippers

Dress Shoes
12 pair Socks

7 underwear

4 pair pajamas (he only needs 2 but the summer pajamas stayed upstairs with the winter pajamas per his request.)

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A coat for the season

In the picture, not all his clothes were in the drawer. He has 2 more shirts and 3 more pairs of jeans then pictured.

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That’s it. Most of his clothes are kept in a three drawer dresser. (There is way more space in there than he needs.) The top drawer holds his socks and underwear as well as diaper and changing supplies ( for the 18 month old and 2 month old).

The middle drawer holds his 5 play shirts, one polo, and all his pants.

The bottom drawer holds his sweaters and pajamas. He puts his own pajamas away, and I have not made him fold them so for transparency sake, the drawer looks like this.


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His shoes and slippers are on a low shelf system in his room, and his boots are by the back door in the kitchen. His hoodies hang on a hook with his sisters’ hoodies on the right side of their closet. I probably need to come up with another place for them since 8 hoodies on one hook is a little impractical.

The closet holds the 18 month old’s entire wardrobe, all 3 of the kids’ shoes, all of their dress clothes, extra blankets and sheets, and the preschool boy’s special toys (in hutch).

I also hang some upcoming outfits (gifts usually from relatives on the far right because if I don’t, I tend to forget about them!

The closet has been easy to maintain because the little ones can’t reach their clothes and the preschooler is fairly particular about his things going back on the hutch. (Mostly because it’s the one spot the girls aren’t allowed so it ensures his toys’ safety.)

That’s it. We do tend to wash clothes every day or every other day which may be a dealbreaker for another family, but a minimal wardrobe works very well for us.

-Verity

Prepping for Baby When You Already have Toddlers

Yesterday Lyd and Matthew welcomed baby #3!! She’s super cute.

The birth helped motivate me to get moving on a post I’ve been meaning to write about our last birth.

Having a four-year-old, two-year-old, and one-year-old, I gave the birth of baby number four a lot of thought. Here are some of the things I did, and my feedback in retrospect.

Freezer Meals.

PictureI had collected about 20 freezer meals ahead of time from my freezer meal swap and had also bought about 12 frozen entrées. The bought items were for the week after the birth because my husband does not like to make my premade freezer meals.

In retrospect. The freezer meals were great though neither my mom nor my husband liked using my them. For some reason they found them too confusing. They liked the store-bought items or making their own things, or buying fast food better. It probably depends on your husband or helper.

However, after I lost my helpers and needed to forge on my own, I was very thankful to have those freezer meals!!


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Pantry Prep.

I purchased all the pantry goods we would need for the next month after the baby was born. This included snack items for my husband work lunches and extra items the kids could be handed during the month to make things easier. Many of the kids’ items were not items I would normally buy, but I was willing to make the extra investment to help the transition!!

In retrospect. I think I might do my shopping for snacks a month ahead of time from now on. Having all the snacks sitting there ready and not needing to worry about them on the weekly shopping trip was wonderful. However, we did tend to go through more snacks because we had so many!


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Communication.

Because my husband was taking a week off work and then my mom was coming for a week, I wanted to help them know what food was available, what chores the kids were used to doing, and the schedule the kids were used to. I posted a couple of papers on the fridge so they would have that information.

In retrospect. I’m not sure if they even looked at the papers. However, prepping the papers a month before the baby was due was a huge help to me. I was able to make sure the kids knew their chores ahead of time, and worked to make their chores and schedule more like clockwork. (At least as much like clockwork as you can have when you’re working with a preschooler, toddler, and a mini toddler…)


Cleaning Prep.

My best effort was to get a new slipcover for the couch. Our old one was falling apart, and I realized that that would be a location I would be spending a lot of time with the new baby.

Second best project was cleaning out the fridge and freezers. This helped a lot with keeping food organized, communication going with whoever was working in the kitchen, and helping me get back on my feet.

Third best thing was that I was able to be caught up on laundry. Then after the baby was born I simply needed to have my husband throw in one load each day, and then I folded and put it away. This helped everybody stay in clean clothes even in a huge transition time.


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Older Kid Prep.

Three little ones 4 and under required some thought. I saved some new toy sets in the top of my closet for them for during the time I’d be breastfeeding.

In retrospect. This worked great though adding 5 toy sets along with a new baby was frustrating. I might try disposable items like coloring pads or glow sticks next time – things to occupy them for the first initial few days – then throw away.

Prep I Wish I had Done.

Funny how things feel different when your hands are full!

WAY more decluttering. If I could have two baby free days now – I’d get rid of half our stuff!! (sigh…). I wish I’d gone crazy pre-baby.

More toys and school supplies inaccessible to kids. We had a school drawer that was working great, but now the kids kept getting into it (while I was off with baby. :-P )

Breaking down on older kids’ character issuesBEFORE baby. Having a child who gets too wild is annoying when you have 2 hands to separate and protect smaller siblings, but it’s dangerous when you are tied up with a baby.

So, that’s the summary! I hope it helps if you have a baby on the way!

-Verity