Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tips and Tricks: the "Assembly line"

I've decided to try to do a series of posts about "tips and tricks" that are helping us around here.  The idea is partly to share what we are learning but even more hoping that some of you will chime in with other ideas.  We'd love to hear what helps your house run smoother and happier.  Anything that saves time, helps kids be involved, creates everyday learning experiences, etc...really anything that adds value and efficiency to your family life.

This post could alternatively be called "making lemonade"
because the pictures for today's "trick" started with this whopper of a lemon

That would be nearly every.single.toy out of the boys room scattered across the living room. 

I, admittedly, was distracted.  They lulled me into distraction by playing so peacefully together yesterday morning while Baby B was sleeping.  And then they found something fun to do...they "made a store"...made a store by emptying ALL of the bins in their closet.
Note to self: "Self, this is exactly why you started MMM.  Remember that whole concept of 'if you don't have a plan, they'll come up with one'.  Yeah, this would have been a good time to remember that"

So, when I discovered the mess I took a forced "time-out" for myself before responding.  Took some pictures, posted them to facebook (you know, just in case any other moms could relate), and took deep breaths.  THEN, I went back to enforce clean-up.  To make clean-up a little more fun and engaging, I utilized a "trick" that has become a favorite around here.

*the "workers" before the passing got started.  From left to right, wrapping all the way around the corner from the living room back to the bins in the boys' room, where the toys belong

Seriously, I use this for everything.  We pass clothes from the dryer to the couch.  We pass groceries from the bags to the pantry.  We pass EVERY.SINGLE.TOY from the living room BACK to the boys' closet.
Granted, this trick is very successful for us because 1) we don't have a lot of ground to cover in our house and 2) we have a LONG line of kiddos.  But it would work with fewer kids and more ground to cover, too, if you just give each kid an area/distance that is theirs.  Its a great way to teach teamwork, patience, helping, and its also good for making Momma's smile!  USUALLY no one guesses that they are actually "working"...unless of course they are putting away EVERY.SINGLE.TOY and get a little distracted before it is over.  Then, sometimes, you have to step out of line and, well, put them back in line :) 

But AT LEAST, today it definitely helped minimize the whining involved in clean-up, cut the time significantly, and didn't leave momma with all the work to do...

So, whether it is an assembly line or other game, find a way to make clean-up fun and get everyone involved.
You know, Make Lemonade!


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