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Any tips on making things easier and less chaotic with 5 kids?

I have 2 kids of my own, and babysit 3 other kids 3 days a week. They're fantastic kids, but meal times are really crazy. I set the table, get everyone served and then they all need something else. One needs her glass refilled, then another drops her entire sandwich on the floor, and by the time I get that one re-made another one needs seconds on his carrots and then the baby is crying because he needs more grapes and then my daughter has an accident and needs her pants changed... and that's on a good day, when they all like what I'm serving for lunch, otherwise I'm asked several times if they can have something else, or if they have to eat it all... followed immediately by "when's snack time?" The waste factor in my house has gone up by a lot, and I don't even get to sit down and eat until everyone else is done, and by then I'm having to set the timer for turns with toys or help one of the little ones do something or nurse the baby or...

And getting everyone ready to go outside? Ridiculous.

All 6 of us need sun screen if it's the middle of the day (and they all want to go outside at the stroke of noon). So it takes 20 minutes or longer to get everyone covered in sun screen, plus finding shoes, hats, drinks and toys for all of them... to play outside for 20 minutes before someone gets hungry or needs to use the bathroom or gets bored, etc etc etc.

Those are my two biggest struggles. Any tips on streamlining this?

Kids are 7, 5, 3, 2 and 10 months. And my 3 year old is an instigator lol.

 
Ati_13

Asked by Ati_13 at 11:58 PM on Jun. 10, 2011 in General Parenting

Level 24 (21,184 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (13)
  • And in all seriousness - set up a chart and assign them jobs, age appropriate (baby excluded). Make them help set the table, help clean up, help hand out sandals and keep track of who needs sunscreen. Doesn't matter if they're real jobs, just things to make them feel like they have something important to do.
    NotPanicking

    Answer by NotPanicking at 12:08 AM on Jun. 11, 2011

  • two words, duck tape :)
    mommy_of_two388

    Answer by mommy_of_two388 at 11:58 PM on Jun. 10, 2011

  • alcohol
    NotPanicking

    Answer by NotPanicking at 12:06 AM on Jun. 11, 2011

  • Ok lunch time, if it's sandwiches make several and cut them into 4, each child get's one and when they are done they may pick one from the plate in the middle of the table. Serve it with child size servings and family style. Have it all ready when you sit down. As for accidents at the table, potty before sitting down, that may help, kids will often forget the sensation of peeing when they're busy. Like lunch or not, everyone must try one bite of everything, don't like it don't finish it.
    As for going outside, have the parent's put things in designated spots when they drop off. It will make things easier. Let the 7, 5 and depending on independance the 3 years olds start their own sunscreen. Arms and legs are pretty easy, squirt into their hands and let them at it. I do faces though, that's easier. Encourage independance and you'll be amazed at how much they can do to help get ready. I have 4 kids, I feel your frustration!
    AmandaH321

    Answer by AmandaH321 at 12:11 AM on Jun. 11, 2011

  • Maybe you should reconsider babysitting until you can work out a more doable routine.
    meooma

    Answer by meooma at 7:11 AM on Jun. 11, 2011

  • LOL!
    Ati_13

    Comment by Ati_13 (original poster) at 11:59 PM on Jun. 10, 2011

  • Cut sandwiches in 1/4s, put on platter in the middle of table. Give out 1 quarter at a time. grapes and carrots go on the table. Pitcher of drink or container of milk on the table. This way you do not have to get up to get the next helping. You can bag the left overs and save for snack or next lunch. This will give you less waste.
    Have you tried the spray on sunscreen? It is quicker.
    The nursing is really throwing me. I have no idea how you can deal with four other demanding kids and nurse. Bless you!!!!
    tootoobusy

    Answer by tootoobusy at 12:08 AM on Jun. 11, 2011

  • I'm super anal about the sunscreen. I can't see it once they rub it in and I don't want them missing spots and getting burned. But I really like all of the other ideas, ladies. I forget that I don't have to clean up after lunch all on my own, you know?
    Ati_13

    Comment by Ati_13 (original poster) at 12:21 AM on Jun. 11, 2011

  • Oh, and my daughter won't potty if I tell her to. Even if she is about to pee her pants and she knows it, if I tell her "Hey, let's go potty" she balks and wont' do it. She will hold it until she can't any more and have an accident because I told her to go potty lol. That kid is going to be the end of me.
    Ati_13

    Comment by Ati_13 (original poster) at 12:23 AM on Jun. 11, 2011

  • My mom raised 9 children. She had two sets of twins. She had 6 girls and 3 boys. I can imagine what you are going through. I watched my mom a many of days. She would cook, clean, wash the dishes, wash clothes, feed one of the twins etc. She was always on the go. My mom had a lot of patience. She would go to bed late at night. She would get up early the next day and start all over again. If anyone deserved an award, for Mother of the year. My mom deserved the award for Mother of the year for being mother and father.
    Patricia587

    Answer by Patricia587 at 1:30 AM on Jun. 11, 2011