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Old 03-30-2011, 05:19 AM   #1
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Too many kids too little time?

I guess I have been overwhelmed lately by the enormity of what I am undertaking. Being responsible for all these little being and disciplining them so they listen is taking a toll so I ask for tips and links to help my household run smoother. Chore charts are a bore and they are tired of the chores that were originally assigned. Just letting it go and doing it myself is putting me in bed for two days due to Fibromyalgia and exhaustion.


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Old 03-30-2011, 06:57 AM   #2
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Re: Too many kids too little time?

Some days are better than others around here...I have 3, hubby has 2, we have one on the way and custody of my niece and nephew as well. Luckily for me, and I say this with ultimate love and affection lol, we don't have them all all the time...4 full timers and all 7 every other weekend (until summer, which with them all here for vaca and a new baby coming, will be crazy I'm sure). That said, the best advice I can give you is routine routine routine, schedule schedule schedule. I know it can be mundane, doing the same thing day after day. But that big white dry erase calendar/board on my fridge is my sanity! As for kids and discipline and's hard, when they all vary in age and require different things. That's what I'm struggling with anyways, trying to tailor punishments and discipline methods to each child. Not just because of ages, but they all respond differently to different things, and what works for one doesn't always work for another. It's easy to feel are not alone for sure. I will follow this thread myself, curious as to the ideas fellow mamas give you that maybe we coud make work here too! Good luck!
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Old 04-07-2011, 11:47 AM   #3
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Re: Too many kids too little time?

Wish I could provide suggestions but I'm beginning to feel like u some days...also waiting to hear what other mamas say...
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:09 PM   #4
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Re: Too many kids too little time?

I have 5 who are 5 and under. We have a ticket system in place in our house. They get tickets for doing chores and randomly for other things. Like if I ask them to all go upstairs and get in their beds for naps and only one obeys, I'll give that child a ticket. Or, if one of them does something nice for someone else, I'll give them a ticket. For the tickets, they get prizes. At first, I was buying little things at the Dollar Store and such and we would have "Store Night." They kids could pick one thing for every 10 tickets they got. (Generally, they usually get at least 1 ticket a day, for doing their daily chores, and often a second for something character related. So, 10 a week is fairly easy to do.) Now, I will take the kids to Target and let them pick something from the $1 bins for every 10 tickets. For my oldest, who is 5, we have started allowing him to turn in his tickets for money to save up for other things instead. So, every ticket equals $.20. As of yet, he keeps choosing to get a toy at Target instead, but I suspect that won't last long. Plus, he gets more than 10 a week. So, he spends 10 at Target and saves the rest. So, he is building up. Anyway, this is working well for my older 3. They are 5 and twins who are 3. My other 2 just turned 1 yesterday, no tickets for them yet.

Also, personally, I don't care if they are bored with their chores. You live here, you help. I get bored cleaning the same things over and over and folding the same clothes day in and day out. That is life. However, I do change up the chores each week. This week, the 5 year old will put away the silverware, one 3 year old will help me load the dishwasher and the other will wipe the table. Next week, it will switch. That provides for variety and also the opportunity to learn more than one skill.

Oh and BTW - I often feel overwhelmed by being responsible for all these littles. (Sometimes, I hide on DS, like now. ) The task of teaching them to obey and be respectful and responsible sometimes seems daunting. But, you just keep doing it anyway. I just remind myself they are growing up and won't be littles that much longer. At that point, I will be very glad I worked hard to teach them while they were young.
Heather SAHM to 6 who are 7 and under, including 2 sets of twins and our last little miracle, a surviving identical twin, born Oct 2012!
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Old 04-08-2011, 12:28 AM   #5
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Re: Too many kids too little time?

You have more than me so you could probably give better advice than I can.

Mine are 5 and 3 year old twins. My advice if feesable is to try and take the kids mid morning to do something active. We live in a small town where we can walk to a library, the store, playground, river (feed ducks), or park. Or else I'll drive to a Mc Donalds with indoor play area. For me my days go way smoother if I take 1-2 hours mid morning to do something active. They seem to burn off enough energy so that they are calmer the rest of the day.

I tried doing the tickets which I highly recommend, however, I got too lenient so instead we are doing a prize box, it has small toys/party favors, and oranic/raw cane sugar suckers. For chores I do a lot of rewarding with the prize box or treats, or extra priveledges (staying up 30 minutes late). Generally if kids refuse to do chores, they lose priviledges (might not do something fun) or do not get a prize/treat and spend the clean-up time in their room for time-out.

Here is my typical schedule: watch cartoons, eat breakfast together at the table, clean-up toys, kids watch cartoons while I clean up (dishes, vacuum, etc.), then we go and do something active lately have been going on a lot of walks, eat lunch at table, more play time, nap-time/quiet time, dinner, etc...

I have only been doing more structured days for about 3 weeks, since prior to that I worked full time and now am just working 2 nights a week but so far I am noticing a huge difference and having a lot less behavioral issues. Good luck, I hope some of the things people are suggesting help.
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Old 04-08-2011, 12:48 AM   #6
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Re: Too many kids too little time?

You could write down the chores and put them in a job jar for them to draw one. And if they misbehave you could have them draw another one. I just came up with that but I think I may have to try that. You could have two jars, one for the older kids and one for the younger, or even a jar for each kid. Or you could just assign chores each week based on what they can do, like to do, are good at, or need to learn to do.
But those require a certain amount of planning. What I do is just ask for help when I need it or when something needs to be done. I have given up on bribery and rewards, (other than sometimes giving extra video game/tv time). The reward for folding laundry is your clothes aren't wrinkled. The reward for putting away dishes is you have clean plates to eat on.
I also occasionally like to do Flylady. She sends out emails and reminds you to do certain daily tasks.
mom to Morgan 5/02, Elisha 5/05, Bethany 1/08, Joshua 11/10 & Kailey 2/14
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Old 04-08-2011, 12:56 AM   #7
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Re: Too many kids too little time?

I only have 2(and 1 on the way) But my friend has 5 kids ages 2-13, ages 2,9,11,12,13.

This is things she does...

She has a cleaning area assigned to each child. They have to keep their area clean, if it is not, no friends allowed over or allowed to go out to friends, unless it is clean. Beds and rooms have to be clean, who ever has the cleanest room gets a cleaning fairy in their room and also a mark on the white board. Who ever has the most marks gets something, like pick a move out for movie night, pick dinner out one night, have a friend over, and so on. They also get extra points for doing MORE than their required basic chores. This seems to work well for her, they seem to compete for the points, to get the special thing they want at the end of the week.

With the chores, maybe do a chore wheel, or randomly draw out the chore each week(have the child pick from a bowl or hat) that way they are not getting the same chore each time and it is sort of a game as to what one they pick.

With discipline, be consistent, make sure your DH/SO is on the same page on everything so he can discipline the same. Make sure you reward good behaviors/doing the right thing the next time after being corrected, with praise. I think rewards with items, money, candy lead to kids EXPECTING these things after they have learned what they should be doing in the first place. You can also reward with time with you alone, doing what they want(reading, drawing or so on)

Maybe also structure your day. If they go to school you could do this on school days: Chores must be done before (dinner?), chores must be done before going to play with friend, home work must be done before dinner/playing with friends/playing games or so on. Days at home, Chores must be done before lunch, playing, seeing friends, computer or TV time. After lunch they can have free time to do what they want(play outside, inside or whatever), but before dinner make sure everything is cleaned up and they are clean. It does not have to be HUGELY structured, but enough to the point they know chores have to be done by here to be able to go out to do fun things during the free time, if they are not done, you don't get to participate in the games siblings are playing or other activities they want to do. You could also include brush teeth and be ready for bed by (whatever time) and in bed by (whatever time).

My DS is 3 and has to have a bit of structure. He knows his bed time routine, lets us know if we have not given him his medication, his formula milk, then tries to hurry DH up to get upstairs to do teeth brushing and tuck him in bed. He also informs DH that DD needs to go to bed and so does DH(they all have a 9ish bed time)

Anyways, I hope some of this helps, even though I only have 2 LOs at home right now, I have helped out a ton with cousins, niece and nephew and working in preschool through 5th grade classes. I also have 6 siblings(over 70 cousins) lots of experience with viewing other parenting techniques, seen what worked best, what horribly failed, I picked what I liked, learned a bit more in teaching classes and parenting books(for troubled kids....even though DS was not trouble at all then I read it, he was 10 months old) It helped a lot, with deciding how we were going to parent. Me and DH are on the same thing with everything(even what will happen if DD gets pregnant or DS gets someone pregnant....even though that is years away and we will educate them about teen pregnancy and how to prevent it....better to have a plan still!)
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Old 04-11-2011, 08:24 AM   #8
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Re: Too many kids too little time?

When you have lots of littles, the only way to keep your sanity is to keep them near you. "Out of sight" is actually code for "making a mess while Mom can't see me."

My suggestions:

1. Do laundry together. Run your laundry all day long, but gather together in a pile for a laundry "party" after naptime where everyone (even the 2yo) folds what they can and puts away. (Supervised.)

2. Meals - simplify what you can.

3. If you need a nap, take a nap, but you would be wise to wake up BEFORE them. Trust me. A little silence goes a long ways towards calm & happy.

4. Remove toys from bedrooms. We tend to lie to ourselves. You know the one... "My kids will keep this picked up. They'll put toys away without being reminded." That lie. I want to LIKE my children. Toys in the bedroom just sets them and me up for failure. Toys in common area only where I can supervise play and make sure they pick up.

5. Supervised children can't:
Color on the walls
Dig clothes out from dresser drawers.
Unroll the toilet paper.
Dress up in the clothes you thought you packed away.
Dig out your fabric stash.
Unmake beds.
Flush random things like your cell phone down the toilet.
Paint on the bathroom mirror with (you fill in the blank.)


When you fix a meal, they can color on paper near you. When you rest, they can watch LeapFrog near you. When you do dishes, they can do play-doh at the table. It definitely takes adjustment and training (for you and them) but it's WELL worth it. Do chores TOGETHER. They pick up their rooms while you supervise. They play in your room or dance or whatever while you make your bed. They clear the table while you load the dishwasher. You all fold clothes together. You pick up the living room together... You get the idea. The general idea is that if they're with you they can't run through the house undoing what you do. And frankly you CAN'T do it all. Or at least not longterm, so this is really the only solution. It's definitely easier sometimes to just do it yourself or nag at them but it sets you up for longterm failure.

I can now cheat a little and I wouldn't HAVE to have the two year old help fold laundry, because now I have olders, but it doesn't serve me well longterm.

(And, I'll be honest... Chore charts and other methods created more work for me. I like having a To Do list and that works great, but the whole keeping up with the chart never did last longterm. We just all do what needs to be done in a routine.)

And in the end, there is nothing to do but to do it. If your biggers are reliable, you can just give them a daily checklist like you would for schoolwork and then hold them accountable. If your olders are not, they will need to be taught/trained.
Blessed Mama to Ana(16), Christian(13), Hannah (^i^ 2/14/01-2/26/01), Elizabeth(10), Rebecca(8), Timothy(7), Abigail(5), Sarah(4), Ella(2), & Olivia (1)

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Old 04-13-2011, 08:30 PM   #9
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Re: Too many kids too little time?

"Many hands makes little work" is so very very true. From the time the kids are tiny they help out around the house. I can get the truck unloaded from grocery shopping in 5 mins with 7 sets of hands helping. If the oldest boy is home (he's our only public schooled child) then it makes it even easier.

I have told the kids since they were little that this is OUR family and we all need to work together to make it work. Now my house is never spotless but it is at all times (or honestly almost all times) clean enough to invite someone in. This means that we once over each room two or three times a day, where the children literally go over the room once and pick up every toy or clothes item, if there is an garbage or paper pieces to big for the vacuum to pick up that is picked up by hand too. The point is to get the room back to acceptable and livable. This usually only takes 3-5 min each time. We then try to vacuum at least every other day.

The two oldest kids (14 &16) switch off every other week for the kitchen. They have to have the kitchen spotless every night before they go to bed. once a week they have to wash down the front of the cabinets and appliances. The sink as to be scrubbed out every night.

The younger 6 all have chores that change everyday and as we need things done.

some simple ideas to help keep the mess to a min....

NO toys in bedrooms.
Declutter as much as possible. The less there is to clean up the less time it takes to clean it.
Keep the littlest ones near you as much as possible, out of sight out of mind and making a mess
If a mess is made, make them clean it up. Takes longer but they get the point a lot faster.
Keep things as organized as possible. Invest in toy storage that isn't a toy box and go through the toys monthly to toss out ones that are broken or not played with.

Try to get in a routine as much as possible. Set a bed time and stick to it. Doesn't have to be early. Our little ones go to bed at 9 and middle ones at 10 and older ones at 11, but it gives us an ending point to the day.
Wife to my Don and home birthing, home schooling, Non-vaxing, Kinda-crunchy, intactivist mom/stepmom to A 1990, J 1991, S 1994, C 1996, M 1999, B 2002, A 2005, R 2005, L 2006, G 2007 , K 2011 and our newest addition due May 2014
Always missing O 11/1/200-1/9/2001
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Old 04-26-2011, 01:50 PM   #10
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Re: Too many kids too little time?

Originally Posted by 5lilmnkys View Post
But that big white dry erase calendar/board on my fridge is my sanity! !
Mama, can you expand on which one you have and what you use it for? THANKS!!
Jen, homeschoolin', Christ-following mama to 5 boys (11, 9, 5, 3, 10 months) and 1 girl (6)!!
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