Thank you to everyone who shared their tips about FLYing with big families. There were many more tips than I had room to post! Now, this list is pretty long. You don’t have all day to read them, so please set a timer for 15 minutes. Use your computer time as break time! This list is numbered, so you can return to your spot when you get the chance. Keep a pad of paper and a pencil handy, you will want to jot down some of the ideas that may work in your home. Happy FLYing.
- CALENDARS FOR BIG FAMILIES At one time in our family, we had one son on a mission in Portugal, one son in college, one daughter in High School, one daughter in junior high, one daughter in Elementary School, and one young son at home. For all their appointments, birthdays, recitals, games, concerts, etc, I used a different color for each person on the calendar. I kept that (‘crazy’) December page to put in my journal to remind us of the very busy, but happy family month ! Love to all flybabies and flyfriends, Sunshineflybaby from Utah
- I’m not sure if I qualify in the big family category, but with 4 kids ages 8, 5, 3 and 1 we might. The biggest thing that helps me is the chalkboard wall I painted right near the kitchen table. Everyone sits there for breakfast and dinner, and I have a Monday-Friday schedule on it — Monday is garbage day, Thursday is show and tell and dance class, etc. This keeps me a bit ahead of the game, and I also used magnetic primer under the chalkpaint so I could stick the kids’ school lunch menu sheet there too. Important notices also go up there, and at the bottom I write on my 2nd grade son’s weekly spelling words so he can study or at least look at them twice a day during meals. His tests have been good so far, a few perfect scores and the most he’s missed has been five words! Anyone who can read can see what’s happening when, and I know what needs to go in the kids’ backpack at a glance.
My husband is beginning to refer to me as a Flylady. When I first started this he was skeptical, but boy he’s beginning to come around now. We’re even thinking about finishing the cellar of our house, and I’m not afraid of that idea anymore because I know with a few 15 minute sessions, I’ll have all the junk out of there in no time flat. Thanks to everyone at Flylady, things are more manageable around here. I could go on, but I’ll just close with the thought that while it’s good to know I’m not alone in being sidetracked, it’s also good to know that there’s someone throwing me a line to keep me from sliding back into the old quicksand of housekeeping despair!! – in Chenango County
- We have nine children in a 1400 sf home so we are constantly “flying”. A lot of people make a lot of messes, but many hands make clean-up fast. Everyday is house-blessing day.
Everyone (4 and older) has a zone that they are in charge of for a whole month. This gives them a feeling of ownership and accomplishment. It also gives them an opportunity to do each of the monthly jobs in their zone. When it’s time for a 5 minute Room Rescue (we do these throughout the day as we also homeschool and homebusiness so there are 11 people in the house most of the time) everyone knows exactly where to go and what to do. My oldest three sons (17, 15, 10) rotate between the livingroom, diningroom, and boys’ bedroom. My daughter (13) prefers the kitchen and no one else does, so I let her stay in that zone year-round. (She had already been doing the rotation for several years so she knows how to clean other rooms.)
She is also in charge of the girls’ bedroom. I give the younger children smaller zones: the 8yo has the pantry (which is a 4×12 ft room), the 6yo and 4yo rotate between the boy’s walk-in closet floor (5 x 6) and the laundry room floor (5 x 6). The little ones are responsible for the things they can reach. Most little ones are happy to play with the feather duster in their zone or give them a spray bottle filled with water and a wash cloth and they can go to town on the floors, appliances, etc.
We have other jobs that rotate daily so that everyone only has to do it only once a week: bathrooms, dishes, sweep, laundry. My oldest three children are each responsible for a meal: one makes breakfast everyday, one does lunch, and I help my daughter with supper, although she can make many meals completely without help. We make up the menus and do the grocery shopping together and are able to keep our grocery bill down by planning snacks, meals and drinks. We have a set menu for breakfast and lunch (every Wed. is pancakes for breakfast and soup for lunch). Suppers are pasta on Mondays, beef on Tuesday, restaurant on Wed (kids eat for a penny a pound), chicken on Thursday, pizza on Friday, leftovers or convenience food on Sat. (it’s our date night) and Sundays we have supper at church. So I only have to be creative with 3 meals/week and I have a list of favorite chicken, beef, and pasta meals to choose from that gives us variety. Hope these ideas help and that some of you others with big families will share as well! – flying in Ft Myers, FL
- If structure is good for me, it’s even better for my six kids. I made a chore chart at the local teacher store by writing their names on a large cut out and attaching them to a poster board and having it laminated. I used the little calendar cut outs and wrote jobs on them and had then laminated too. Velcro on the chart and the backs of the little pieces and we have structure for under $10! This way there are no excuses for not knowing what your jobs were this week and I don’t have to nag. We also do what a lot of families do and pair up big with little. It helps with shoes, jackets and car seats. Doing the laundry every day is mandatory and finally planning a menu has made a huge difference in my 5:00 panic and in my grocery budget. And while structure is important, flexibility is too. We try to make time for each child and for them to support each other. Flying with a Full Nest in Pgh
“I have 5 kids ranging in age from 3 years old to 9 years old.They have quite a few routines built into their lives but I am not sure they even realize it yet.” – FlyBaby from Ontario
- I have 5 kids ranging in age from 3 years old to 9 years old.They have quite a few routines built into their lives but I am not sure they even realize it yet.Every day,they wake up,get dressed and put their dirty clothes in their own hamper in their rooms.They get dressed,brush their teeth etc and come down for breakfast after making their beds.Then school.After school it is homework and snack time,permission slips,papers etc all get looked at,get ready for dinner and clubs(guides,scouts etc) and sports.We have a dry eraseable chart on our fridge that has daily chores on it for each child and it gets changed every week.On it is things like dishes,sweeping the kitchen,sweep the halls,vaccuum,dusting,gathering the recycling together,the garbage,feed the cats etc.When they have done their chore,a check mark in another colour is put on the board.For some reason,they all love to try and have the most checkmarks first!There is no rewards for getting so many checkmarks,just the fact that they get recognized as being done.Kids work better when they have routines,and they can get very cranky if they get off their routines without even knowing why. Flybaby M. in Ontario
I have been told these tips are so helpful and enjoyable, that it is too easy to become sidetracked while reading them (we are SHEs afterall). Before you know it, several hours have gone by and you feel like you have not accomplished anything. Time for a Surprise! So, quick, head into the room of your smallest child and find three things that don’t fit anymore. Find someplace else to store these clothes that don’t fit, either start a “blessing box” for donation, or a storage box for your younger children. Just get the clothes that don’t fit them out of their rooms. Go! Go! Go!
- I have been FLYing for 4 weeks now and I feel that sooo much stress and burden of the house has been lifted! I love FLYing, but I can see my family does, too. I was becoming overwhelmed, having three children (10mon., 3, & 6) of my own with all there different levels of learning, PLUS I babysit 5 other children, all coming and going at different times. Talk about CHAOS! I was pulling my hair out when a friend told me about FlyLady. I checked it out and put it to work and now I don’t know how I ever got along before. It’s so easy with the right attitudes!
I got my children and the ones I babysit into racing the timer on a 5 minute room rescue. They love beating the timer and are amazed at how quick they can get the job done. This keeps the toys under control and my house can be welcoming in the middle of the day! My DH also noticed I’ve been making the bed every day and keeping my clothes picked up, so without me saying anything to him, he’s been doing the same, which cuts out me picking up after him! Thank you so much for helping me get my CHAOS under control! – FLYing in Oh
“Living with a large family is wonderful if you have your routines!” – NC FlyBaby
- We are DH, Me, DF (Dear Friend), 5 young kids including a set of twins, 2 dogs, 1 cat. Doing the routines help the most–and after flying for a year, I still have to look in my control journal to remind me of some of the steps!
The next big help is the “rotations,” what flylady uses when she’s overwhelmed: 15 mins on laundry/house, 15 mins in the office, 15 mins in the zone/missions, and 15 mins w/the kids. I spend many days during the week like this, and am still amazed at how much more I accomplish now!!! I have my weekends back!!!!!!!!
Definitely meal planning is a help–took a big calendar from my dh’s business and planned breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner for every day this month and it’s been just wonderful!!! The kid’s help w/input, and everyone knows what’s coming up. It looks like a healthy version of a school menu!
I give the kids index cards with 3 simple tasks and “thank you, I love you” written on it. I place them on the table w/snack when they get off the bus. They don’t mind helping out as much anymore–carry it around w/them and know they play when it’s done. I remind them they are blessing our house and that I’m proud of them.
Laundry (10-12 loads/week in supersize machines) is a snap now that I’m culled down to the needed items, fold from the dryer instead of “running it all through,” and put away quickly. Can you say 27-fling boogie?? –PA flybaby
- Oh wow I can’t wait to read all these tips! We have 5 children ranging in age from 15 to 2.
The biggest thing I have discovered since starting to fly is that if I begin getting ready to go 10-15 minutes “early” then I actually end up on time for things. I think as a SHE our clocks are slow or something or we have a different sense of time. How wonderful to actually be on time or even early to school, parties, meetings, games etc.
Another basic tip is to always carry a well stocked bag. Change of clothes for little ones, baggies of cereal, crackers whatever, diapers and wipes, etc. Murphy’s law says that when you do NOT have these things, this is precisely when your 2 year old will run through a mudpuddle and get all wet and muddy.
I also try to stagger their bedtimes by 10 minutes or so to give me that time with each of them to read a story or reflect on the day without everyone else around. Living with a large family is wonderful if you have your routines! NC Flybaby
Another surprise! Head into the children’s video stash and find one movie they no longer watch! These things have an amazing ability to multiply! If you don’t have a video stash, head into the children’s book stash. See how many chewed up cardboard baby books are still kicking around! If you don’t have babies, then out they go! Let me know what you find. Send an email to FlyCrew@flylady.net and put “I did it – Videos” in the subject line. Have fun!
- I’m from North Las Vegas, Nevada. I guess you could say that I have a “BIG” family. We have 4 children of our own – dd 17, ds 15, dd 11 and dd 6 and I also have a Licensed daycare in my home. (3months, 7 months 13 months, 15 months, 2 years, and 3 years, Which totals up to 10 kids in my home each weekday from 6:30 am – 5:00 pm. I think (actually I KNOW) the only way I make it through each day is that I have a schedule and I follow it as best as I can each day. If my bed is not made each morning before I leave my room, then my day tends to be very stressful. Dont know why, but it does. Same thing with being dressed from head to shoe. I NEVER, EVER answer the door in the morning without having my hair and face done. I follow my morning rountines and get my own children out the door to school while I am feeding all my daycare children. It is a lot of work and I am very tired by the end of the day. But my job is very rewarding. And being a mother and a wife is the best reward of all. My best advice is patience and loving yourself and always follow your routines and schedules.
- We have raised seven children, now aged 16-26. Only the youngest two are still at home now, but in those growing years when the house was full of people, there was one thing we set in place that really saved our bacon, and it worked successfully for YEARS with hardly any alteration. We had an evening roster – a simple chart, stuck on the wall – with all the evening chores on it. Nobody argued about it, and nobody shirked their responsibilities. Sound too good to be true?
I think what made it work was that the jobs were as evenly shared as possible, and everybody got one night off every week. Something to look forward to! It helped that there were seven children, and there are seven days in the week! (So anybody who is struggling, I would say ‘Keep going till you have seven kids – then it gets easier!!’) We also colour-coded the squares so each person could look at the chart from a distance and easily see what their responsibility was that night.
What can I say? It WORKED!
As the kids grew and started to move away from home (another way to declutter! LOL) – we had to combine jobs and drop names off the list, but most things got easier because there was less food to prepare, less mess and less dishes to wash. Here is a basic version of our chart:
Day Cook’s Helper
(sometimes WAS the cook)
Clear Table, Clean Counters & Stack Dishes Wash Dishes Dry Dishes Dry Dishes Night Off! Monday Child #1 Child #2 Child #3 Child #4 Child #5 Child #6 Child #7 Tuesday Child #2 Child #3 Child #4 Child #5 Child #6 Child #7 Child #1 Wednesday Child #3 Child #4 Child #5 Child #6 Child #7 Child #1 Child #2 Thursday Child #4 Child #5 Child #6 Child #7 Child #1 Child #2 Child #3 Friday Child #5 Child #6 Child #7 Child #1 Child #2 Child #3 Child #4 Saturday Child #6 Child #7 Child #1 Child #2 Child #3 Child #4 Child #5 Sunday Child #7 Child #1 Child #2 Child #3 Child #4 Child #5 Child #6
- The most helpful tip I can give as a Flybaby with a large family is to assign each child their own “zone.” Even my two-year-old takes pride in her very own zone. Since implementing the zone system, my children are more responsible. They’re also quite protective of anyone making a huge mess in their zone! I love it! Thanks so much for all Flylady has done to help me. Just being dressed (to the shoes!) and having my bed made before I begin home-schooling has revolutionized my life. Joyfully flying – East Lyme, CT
“When I’m in the master bedroom zone, they are in their bedroom zones, thoroughly cleaning under the furniture and in their closets.” – a member
- I don’t know whether to send this to big families or homeschoolers. Since we are both it covers both
We have ten children. Four of them have finished school and married (I’m even a Grammy to 4 little ones now), one is in college and the other five range in age from 14 down to 7 year old twins. What has made life work around here for both school and and home is the concept that this is not my house or my husbands house but home to all of us. All of us have to work as a unit or all of us will suffer the consequences. Even little bitty children can pick up their toys and by the time they are in school we have integrated them into a job rotation with the rest of the kids. My guys do four jobs a day plus keeping their own rooms and take care of putting away their own laundry. It’s not always done perfectly, but like I have heard somewhere before even housework done imperfectly blesses the family. I consider the work they do to be vitally important. I am homeschooling the five kids still at home and to give them the time they need I have to be freed from some of the work. I also want our lives to be rich and full and not tied either emotionally and/or physically to the needs of just getting things done at home. By everyone participating we have the time to reach out to others and be involved in things guilt free.
Practically, I have set up a job rotation that gives them a chance to train to do a job well by having them do the same job for a month at a time. Every fifth month they get the easy rotation which includes such things as toy patrol at night and checking the bathrooms each morning. The others unload the dishwasher, load the dishwasher, clear and clean counters, clear and clean table and sweep floor and before dinner help me with dinner and clean and vacuum the family room.
As an aside; I have really enjoyed The book and the website. I am not born organized person but have learned out of necessity to keep and clean and peaceful house. I have been working with young moms at our church for about four years now coaching them as they walk through learning to take those baby steps. The site is such a great resource for them. Blessings, flying in Durham
- I love the Blessing Hour, but feel strongly that if the kids are available, they should be participating in the blessing so they know how to do it. We have a “Merry Maid Mixer” to get the house cleaned up or whatever chores need to be done. Knowing that older children and adults are more adept at getting a job done nicely, but wanting the younger ones to get in on the action, I found that rotating the kids through several jobs gives everybody an opportunity to work on each job. I find one fewer jobs than there are people involved. Usually it is three or four of the kids and myself, so we might have a laundry-folding station, a sweeping/vacuuming station, a dusting station, and a dishes station. Then add one more fun thing, like getting Mario in first place on the video game. I set the timer for 10 minutes, with one person at each station, including the video game. At the end of 10 minutes, we switch to the next station. That way, I get to each task to make sure the details are done, and the youngest gets a try at the vacuum. I reset the timer as many times as there are participants, so we are done in less than an hour. When the kids were too small for a lot of the tasks, I would pair them with a bigger sibling. They always have fun and don’t feel like they are faced with such a huge task on their own. They only have to work for 10 minutes at it and then can go on to something else (like the video game!) – Illinois
- I have only recently become a ‘flybaby’ and already a friend has noticed the difference it has made to my house and joined! I have 4 children age 6 and under, and I have started them on morning and bedtime routines. This is what we do. I make sure I have breastfed the baby before I get up and have my shower at 7am. I have already laid out the childrens clothes, so when they wake up they now know to get into their clothes instead of dragging out all the toys and messing their rooms. The children have to be dressed, teeth brushed, pyjamas under pillows and beds made before they can go downstairs. I bring down the previous days laundry when I go down with them (having left the baby in the cot probably asleep again by now). Then I get the baby once I have put the laundry on. We try to make sure upstairs is fairly straight before we go downstairs, including the bathroom. In the evening, the children also have to put their dirty clothes in the laundry basket and we often do a quick room rescue to make sure their rooms are nice and tidy before bed. This has to be done before they are allowed stories. At mealtimes, we are also now trying to get them to take their plates, cups etc to the kitchen surface ready to load into the dishwasher. I have found the timer brilliant for room rescues with the children, timing piano practice and homework, and timeout time for when they are naughty! My little boy has been so compliant with sitting quietly in the corner of the dining room because he knows that he can get up as soon as the beep beep goes off!
So apart from the house being more organised and cleaner, it has been wonderful to involve all the family who have seen the results for themselves and are happy to comply most of the time!! My husband has for the first time ever got to the bottom of our post tray and we are keeping up with it every day now, just like the laundry which was also in a similar state before joining Flylady! Thank you for making such a difference in our lives after only two weeks! – Flybaby in UK
“I want to say THANK YOU for discovering the 5 minute room rescue. My oldest four children can’t believe that’s “all” they have to do each day. Plus, it sounds better when I tell them to go “rescue” their rooms instead of “clean”. Cleaning is a chore, but a room rescue is heroic.” – FlyBaby from Alabama
- We have 9 children, four of whom have left for their own homes, and five at home with either school, or new job, and one handicapped daughter. (She has down syndrome and autism). My best hint from the busiest past years is – to make a bunch of little cards, like place-cards, (just cut up 3×5 cards that the kids always use at school for notes, etc.) in even sized pieces, and write one job per card. Example: empty dishwasher, sweep kitchen floor, wash pots and pans-only, sweep front porch, take out trash, fold one basket laundry, read a story to little sister, – for new licensed driver – go to store for groceries, brush dog, walk dog, take sister to park, organize videos, and on and on with different jobs. The jobs change often. THEN also put in these: bake one batch of cookies, rent a video from library and watch it with sibling, with popcorn, take a friend with you to McDonald’s (or other favorite place) for lunch with little sister, plant new seedling plants in part of garden that is only YOURS, (Mom provides the plants and fence), go on hike with dog, etc. All the little cards of jobs and treat ideas go into an old mayonnaise jar on the kitchen counter. After school you pick one, and have to do it before nightfall, or dinner, whichever comes first. The whole thing is that each child has a job to do – one per day – and sometimes it is a fun thing, which makes it more like a game. The “it’s your night for dishes” never worked for us. This seems more fair, and Mom didn’t have to tell them to do the job. The cards did. Thanks for your wonderful, life-affirming, beautiful emails. I love you all. flybaby in CA
Another surprise! This time we are heading into the bathroom. Set your timer for 10 minutes and see how much clutter you can get out of the bathroom (empty shampoo containers, baby bath toys, stretched out pony tail holders and broken hair clips, old makeup, it all counts!) When the timer goes off, you are done! Let me know what you find. Send an email to FlyCrew@flylady.net and put “I did it – Bathroom” in the subject line. Have fun!
- I want to say THANK YOU for discovering the 5 minute room rescue. My oldest four children can’t believe that’s “all” they have to do each day. Plus, it sounds better when I tell them to go “rescue” their rooms instead of “clean”. Cleaning is a chore, but a room rescue is heroic. Their rooms are actually staying clean! Another flylady reminder that has worked wonders for us, “Where is your laundry”. It used to be under the beds, in every bedroom, in closets, in all three bathrooms, the living room, the laundry room, and even in the car. Now dirty laundry goes one place-the bathroom with the built in laundry hamper. It was such an easy solution that I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before. Now I can see how much laundry we have on a daily basis instead of waiting until the weekend to do a search and rescue. LOL! Sometimes the obvious things don’t hit us and we need someone like flylady to point them out.
I just knew my home was destined to be like my mother’s. She has years worth of stash and dash and clutter. I devoloped her same habits, hereditary I guess. I did all the wrong things creating clutter in every room I had. The worst part was I was teaching my children these same habits! Now, I feel comforted that they are learning good cleaning habits even if its a simple 5 minute room rescue. I can’t thank you enough for all your ideas. Flying with my 5 flybabies in Alabama
- I’ve been a FLYbaby for about 2 months and I’m seeing improvements in my home and attitude. My family dynamics are challenging to say the least;
Full-time Payroll SHE
Raising four children; 3 DS’s (ages 16, 13, and 7) and 1 DD (age 6 who is a special needs child, autistic)
And I have a DH recovering from back surgery
I take responsibility for the daily routines for myself, and work on the zone assignments at night. I can proudly say that my sink shines before bedtime if nothing else. But the one thing I thought would bring my family together and instil a sense of pride was the Home Blessing Hour. Instead of doing this by myself, my whole family does it together on Saturday mornings. It has become such a catch phase in my house and more importantly a family routine that everyone has accepted. We set the timer for 1 hour and stop when it buzzes, even if it’s not perfect! This has actually given us back our Saturdays. We know that one hour of Home Blessing and we can begin family fun time! FLYLady is working for me, even though I can’t follow every routine to the letter. Thanks for great website and emails! FLYing in Sunny San Diego
- I guess by today’s standards I have a big family. We have 5 children, 4 still at home. They are 24, 22 (away at school), 10, 8 and 5. Two of our children are special needs, our ds10 is ADHD and our ds5 is Autistic. Flying as a family has been a wonderful tool for both boys. With the ADHD, routines are essential for keeping our ds10 focused and with our Autistic son keeping our home in order and having routines in place has a calming effect on him. My dh was “flywashed” within days of me finding your website (I’ve been flying since October 31, 2001). While we have always kept a “neat” home, you could never open a drawer or closet without something falling out. I would love to say that we are at 100% on the drawers and closets but truthfully we are still only at about 60% finished, but I can proudly say that I haven’t accumulated any NEW clutter in the past 17 months!
To help keep our family flying we have a checklist posted for each child…even dd24 refers to the checklist! They are color coded, laminated and posted on the inside of a kitchen cabinet door with a dry erase pen in matching color velcroed to the top. My checklist is on my control journal…I have a notebook with the clear view window in front and I slipped it inside and keep a dry erase pen in the pencil cup on my desk. Sometimes my dd8 will come home from school and check the front of my control journal to see if I’m having a “good Flying” day!! LOL! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share! – a flybaby in California
- I feel funny talking about “what works” in our home, since so many things don’t really work so well! LOL, but here goes a good one: We have a blended family with five children ages 5, 8, 11, 12, and 13. So we have school age and teen, plus one of the kids is a homeschooler! We run the gamut here! Not surprisingly one of our biggest challenges is clutter. Even the things we love and use get left all over the place. My DH and I have been getting good with the 15 minute zone work and the 5 minute room rescues and hot spot maintenance. Still, it was bothering us that when we did go through a room we found so many things that belonged to the kids and we didn’t want to take away their privilege of putting away their own things… . We went out and bought bins for each person. The kids decorated each bin and put each person’s name on their bin. We keep them in one room and anytime we find posessions out of place they go into the right bin. If we make a mistake it is up to the owner of the bin to find the correct bin for the object. This way, the kids can takle a 5 minute bin clearing task easily. It is not as overwhelming for them as going through an entire room or set of rooms (where they often overlook things or decide they belong to someone else and leave them) and the job is done more cheerfully. We do a bin clearing at least once a week, plus once on the weekend – usually Saturday morning before the FUN starts! Then we all have the weight of the bins off our shoulders. – FLYing in PA
- FLYing with large families – well I can certainly shed some light on that one. My husband and I are the parents of 6 children: 2 boys (who are both 20 and moved out) and 4 girls (15, 11, 9, 4) who are obviously all still at home with us. There is no shortage of hormones in this household! lol
In order to FLY with a large family, organization is a MUST! Let me share my “FLYing in the Kitchen” story with you.
Before FLYLady, our kitchen was in complete CHAOS. Since we don’t have a dishwasher, we had a consistent mountain of dishes waiting to be washed in both sides of the sink, on the counter top, and spilling over to the stove. It was a mess (and it didn’t smell very pretty either…pee-u!). Finally, after having to move this mountain to shine my sink, I decided enough was enough. I went out and bought color coded dishes: 1 dinner plate, 1 lunch plate, 1 bowl, 1 cup and 1 ice cream dish for each child, all in different colors (red, blue, green and white). I also bought new plates for my husband and myself (all’s fair in love and cleanliness!). Then I packed up all the other dishes and gave them to the Salvation Army. A rule was set in motion – you use your dish, you wash your dish. If you don’t wash your dish, you don’t have anything to eat off of. I’ve even gone far enough to wash, dry and confiscate (for 24 hrs) any dishes left in the sink. Let me tell you this system WORKS! I can actually see my stove top and I only have to move fork or two to shine my sink! It’s organization like this that enables you to FLY with a large family.
A few tips:
*Each girl has a bin in the bathroom for all their hair & beautification items. No more ponytail holders falling down the drain! *Color code the bath towels as well! No more towels left on the floor by that invisible kid named “It’s not mine”. *Empty coffee cans make great toy bins. Make sure you either get the ones that have the pull off lid (no sharp edges) or that you cover the sharp edge with fabric. Have your child paint the can, and use it for game pieces, Barbie clothes, toy cars, etc. *Make cleaning fun! Put on some upbeat music and have your kids join in on the 27 Fling Boogie! The smaller kids will love helping you count and you’ll be amazed at what they all decide to throw away!
- I have 10 children, 8 living and 2 miscarried. I’ve been home schooling since day one. Flylady is sooooo right. Routines, routines, routines are the keys to smooth child raising, home schooling, and housekeeping. Another word for routines would be consistency. I’ve done pretty well with the first two, but housekeeping has been a tough one for me to keep up with.
That’s why I’m a flybaby! Since I had 10 pregnancies in 14 years I had a real hard time figuring out when to do the housework, especially when the children were all in diapers! Now my oldest is 15 and the youngest is 3. No more diapers and I’m loving the tips from flylady. Laundry was always a nemesis. Flylady said to declutter down to the bare essentials. Who needs 35 t-shirts in their closet? I took that to heart and ended up taking 50 bags of unloved, unneeded clothes, out of the house! I went from doing 10-12 loads of laundry a day (I have two washers and dryers) to only doing ~ 4 loads depending on bedwetters! I’m done with laundry now by lunch timeJ. Six of my children are on a competitive swim team and swim almost every day so wet beach towels are a whole load every day. I also do a load of whites, colors, and darks.
Now I swish my toilet everyday! I needed flylady to give me “permission” to do that! I always waited until it was so grungy/smelly that I dreaded cleaning the bathrooms. I wish I had known to do that when the children were little. I could have easily done it during bath time.
I really believe in flylady’s mantra that people, not things are more important in life. My husband, children, and I are changing our way of thinking and not buying “stuff” hardly at all any more. We’ve decluttered about 40 boxes of “stuff” now and I don’t even remember what was in them. They certainly weren’t loved items. Now instead of taking care of our “stuff” we’re taking care of each other and others more.
With all that clearing out I was able to repaint the house and set out only those things I really love including fresh flowers every 10 days or so, for me, on the dining room table. Lot’s of stores sell flower bouquets for under $4.00 a bunch now!
The result, a friend who recently moved back into the area came over and the first thing she said was “Wow! You must have taken and interior decorating class the house looks so nice!”
p.s. We still have a Longggg way to go. We haven’t got to the deep cleaning missions or the FACE challenge which is a problem for us still, but baby steps….baby steps……meanwhile decluttering and fine tuning routines are an ongoing challenge for us. Also, when the children were little I was consistent about teaching them how to do dishes, mopping, laundry…we just never had routines for them. So, now that they’re older they are all a big help with their daily chores. We do them twice a day, once after lunch is eaten, and then again after dinner/before bed so we wake up to a straightened up house and a shiny sink! – Fluttering happily in Pensacola, Florida
- So, what if we fit into ALL of the categories? I am pregnant, I have an infant (10 months) and a preschooler (3 yrs) and 2 teenagers (13 and 14) and two others (9 and 10) and we homeschool and, as you have surmised, we have a BIG family! Routine is the only thing that keeps us surviving, especially now. You only missed one category that defines our family: My husband is deployed as well. The things that make us work as a big family work really well to help the kids deal with the deployment of their father. Monday night is Mom’s Monday Night Movie Madness (one on one time with mom, a movie and snacks, the kid who participates rotates each week). Tuesday and Wednesday nights we have outside activities, Thursday is Mom’s night to go to Bible study (and kids’ night with Grandma and Grandpa), Friday is family fun night. We also do a “Crazy Family Night” once a month in which we stay up late doing something they like to do and have a “crazy” dinner like banana splits as the main course and camp out in the living room. Some of this was in place before I found Flylady.net, but with the help of the website, I have more clearly defined their chore routines for them and written them out in very specific detail so they can follow each step.
I can’t tell you how much decluttering has helped in this process–but then again, everyone feels the same about that. It has set such a good example for the kids. I have really great, helpful kids, but this has increased their motivation and willingness to jump in. One key for us is that I set up their chore time to correspond to mine. That is new, and it was kind of by accident, but when I set 8-9 as home blessing time, they were doing their chores and nobody could complain since I was working and it was at a time when they got to see me doing it.
In our family, each child has a “time card”. On it, they have a weekly verse to learn. Under that, they have “room inspection” which they get credit for if their beds are made and the toys off the floor by 7:30. They have a color assignment for chores which gives them a color-coded list. It is based loosely on the zones from FlyLady and covers basic cleaning that needs to be done each week, broken into separate days. There is a place on the time card where I check off that the chores are done each day. One day a week, they have “help mom” as a chore so they help alongside whatever cleaning I am doing. I get some time with just one kid and we have time to talk and enjoy each others’ company as we clean. The time card also tracks showers with a check-off box, which helps remind them to take them as some are more prone to do that than others. They also have a place to track vacuuming (2 times per week) in their bedrooms. Completing one time card earns one point. There is a place for bonus points also for extra chores, writing to Grandma, things like that that I want to encourage them to do and reward them for. At the bottom, they have a reward system listed. When a time card is completed correctly for the week, they get one point. They need a combination of regular points and bonus points to earn things like buying a video, going out to see a movie with Mom or Dad, buying a CD, etc.
The kids love it. They get a reward for helping out and I get kids who are working hard to develop the skills I have identified as being important for them. Thanks for all you do. You are making a difference here. – in California
- We have four children together in a blended family. They range in age from 11-16. One thing we did when we first moved in together, before flylady, is set up a chore list and assign different chores for every family member, the chores are main bath, purple bath, dinner (make and do dishes), sweep kitchen floor, no chore day, and garbage. My DH and I do a lot of the cooking ahead, via crockpot, freezer cooking etc. The children each make salads, heat the dinner, and clean up the mess twice a week, once as the only chore and then we roatate the leftover dinners of Friday nights, Saturday nights, Sunday breakfast and Sunday night dinner. My DH and I are kitchen consultants, we assist in food prep if necessary and facilitate the dinner process. For example tonight,DS2 cleans main bath, DS1 garbage/recycling, DD1 cooked dinner, and DD2 is off. Adults have sweep and purple bath. We assign it as adults because some nights, my husband does both, sometimes I do both or we each take one. It keeps the house relatively tidy, cuts out arguements because everyone can tell who should do what, and seems to work really well. It is nice for me because I empty the dishwasher in the morning routine, and my house blessing consists of our room, our office, and checking to see that the weekend cleanings are done. Thus, I am free to do precooking, shopping, or other errands for the family, on the weekend. On Saturdays, (I know I violate family fun day!), the kids draw chores from garbage and family room, floors,(the house is mostly wood floors), purple and main bath. Also, there are rotating chores of stove & microwave, dishwasher, counters, and sink, decks, windows, and walls and fridge. Last week, DS2 had main bath and fridge, DS1 had floors and stove/microwave, DD1 had purple bath, dishwasher/sink/counters, and DD2 had garbage/family room and deck/walls/windows. Everything is done before noon ususally and everyone is free to do what they want to do. If we are going out to eat then whoever had dinner that night is off (that is part of the reason we rotating weekend evening meals because we have a bigger tendency to be out for dinner on the weekends!) The rule is everyone must pick up their stuff before bed (walk through). The adults do the last walk through of course. If we find a kids item out of place, it goes into the Boogie box. If they want it back (and they usually do) they have to bring 3 boogie items to replace it with…unless the replacement is paper then it has to be 10 items. A rule put in place because DD1 tried to spring a sweatshirt with one item being part of candy wrapper so small, I needed a microscope! I have gathered sooo many 27 fling items that way. Not to mention finding scissors, pens, tape, etc that goes in MY OFFICE (no questions asked policy)! It is amazing how many “rotating door” items such as sweat jackets keep clutter at bay in kids rooms because every rescue mission requires items. As stated, we are a little lax, it can be an item misplaced in the room, not just a giveaway/throw away item. (Missing spoons, cups, etc have made their way home via this policy too!) Oh, and adults are subject to that rule too. Only thing is kid must issue a warning before doing a walk through! I think this works very well at training the kids to see clutter and at getting them in a little bit of a time mindset. Cynthia Washington State
- I am a Homeschooling mother of four. I have twin five year olds, a two year old and a five month old. I have been flying for two months and love it. I always used the kids as an excuse to have a messy house. I now make it a game to see how quickly we can pick up their rooms, the living room, and the hall way. At different times of the day we have 5 minute room rescue. We make it a race (not against each other, but with each other), to see how much we can pick up or straighten up in 5 minutes. Sometimes I get so down when I see a couple rooms a mess, then we do the 5 minute room rescue. I am always amazed at how little time it took us to get the place back in order. I always try to do this before we leave the house, so we come home to a clean house. I LOVE IT! Thank You, Flybaby in B.B., NJ
We are nearly at the bottom, and I saved the best surprise for last. You have to do this one! I asked Kelly, our pamper queen, to write me out a special pampering mission just for you! If you don’t take care of you, who will? Here it is, enjoy!
Get up from the computer right now and set your timer to take time out just for you!! If you have kiddies at home, get them situated to where you can take a 15 minute break. (A video, book or special toy that they love or better yet if they have a nap time try to coordinate your break and nap time!) Set your timer for 15 minutes and go get yourself your favorite cold drink, tea or coffee. Take the time to sit and enjoy your break. Look out the window, skim a magazine. If the weather is nice, sit on your front porch. Just take time to relax for 15 minutes! Enjoy!! – Kelly
- With a family of eight, I have a personal problem with the SOCK MONSTER and the LAUNDRY MONSTER. With socks, when they come out of the dryer, ALL socks go in a big clear bin. Then it’s FFY (fend for yourself) until we have a Sock Party….we put 8 baskets around on the living room floor, and everybody dives in and sorts and pitches into the right basket. “Orphans” are banded together, and after a couple of Sock Parties, orphan socks are pitched or recycled in the rag bag. Saves mom’s sanity a little. With laundry, dear Hubby put up wire shelving in the laundry room. Pricey, but worth it….there are eight baskets for clean laundry, 4 on each shelf (plus the sock bin). ( Dirty clothes are in 4 color coded baskets in a row on the floor under the shelves. ) Clean clothes come straight out of the dryer, are folded and into the correct person’s basket. From there, it is each individual’s responsibility to get it into their room. If they choose to live directly out of the basket, no sweat unless it gets too full and Mom makes them empty out into their drawers. Again, everyone knows where their clothes are, and it becomes an individual responsibility instead of making Mom the drill sergeant all the time. Also avoids the chaos of piles of laundry on the couches and living room floor being sorted and folded. Laundry and clothes are still a BIG CHORE…we are working on paring down everyone’s wardrobe. I have a friend who actually got it down to ONE laundry basket’s worth of clothes owned (seasonal) per person! I’m not there yet!
- I don’t know if this should be under “big families” or “preschoolers”-we have four children, ages 5,4,3, and 1. Every night, I have them pick up the family room before they go to bed. This was turning in to “I didn’t get that out” and “I’m not starting until she starts”, etc, etc, etc,… So, I now have the family room divided in to three sections. Each child is given a section to clean. I change the sections every night so that they won’t know who is getting which section. So far, it’s working great. I have to watch my three-year old, as she will take thing off the floor and put them on the couch or in someone else’s section, but I guess some “creative cleaning” is to be expected! LOL! Flybaby in Indiana
- I have a medium to big family (depends on your perspective) of 4 children, DH and me. My children are in charge of their own rooms and one large job in the rest of the house, each.
When I’m in the master bedroom zone, they are in their bedroom zones, thoroughly cleaning under the furniture and in their closets.
My oldest dd @ 7 years old, sets, clears & wipes the dining table at breakfast & supper. She also helps wash the dishes. My 6 year old ds vacuums the carpet across the house (especially around the table) daily. My 4 yr ds cleans up all the school clutter, toys and helps fold the family clothes. My 2 yr ds helps put all toys and bits of trash away and clothes in the dressers.
When the children are flying with me life is smoother and we have an abundance of time together when the chores are done without sacrificing the house. They all feel very important and a part of the family when they share the household responsibilities. – Flying in Michigan
- Flying with a BIG family in Hudson Oaks, Texas, with four children ages 11, 9, 6 and 5, a huge dog, a stray cat, several fish and always a few extra “friends” hanging around. Here are some of my useful hints:
- Get everyone involved. Each of my children have their own “checklist”, made to their own abilities. They do their weekly checklist on Saturday. I started out having them do stuff every day, but it was interfering with homework, which is more important. On schooldays they only have to make their beds in the morning, lay out
- clean clothes at night, put dirty clothes in the hamper and pick up before bed time. On Saturday mornings, they change their sheets, dust their rooms and take turns swishing their toilets and mopping the bathroom floor.
- Children need motivational rules, and food is a great motivator. At our house, nobody gets breakfast unless they are dressed to shoes and have made their beds. Nobody gets dinner until the playroom is picked up and put away, and nobody gets a bedtime snack until the sinks are shined.
- My oldest daughters is responsible for making the grocery list on Wednesday evening. We do this together while we wait for the younger children at choir practice.
- Laundry rules. Rule Number 1 is do it every day, no matter what. Rule Number 2 is that nothing gets washed unless it’s in the hamper, and everyone is responsible for getting their own clothes into the hamper. Rule number 3 is that clothes are returned to their owners in the same way they were delivered to the hamper. I no longer spend my time turning socks, t-shirts or underpants.
- All toys have a place. Toys that are left out after play are confiscated, and only cash or manual labor will get them back.
- Make cleanup a race! Set that timer, split into teams and see who finishes first!
- Be relentless with the kids’ clutter!! Toss, toss, toss. Don’t keep all those papers, drawings, outgrown clothes, happy meal toys.
- Finally, and most important, never, NEVER do the 27 fling boogie in the kids’ rooms in front of them while they are at home. This is best done while they are at school, far away, and blissfully oblivious.
- My best tip for flying with lots of little ones ( I have 4;ages 5, 4, 2 and 9 months) is online grocery shopping. One evening a week after the children are in bed, I go through the sale ads for the store and make my list for the week. Then I go online and place my order. It stores my lists so all I have to do is go through and find my usual things and click on them. Once my order is placed, I choose a time the following day to pick it up. At pick up time, I drive up to the store, push a button on a little box, tell them my last name and in less than 5 minutes they bring out my groceries and load them in my car. I drive home happily not having spent any extra to pacify my kids and not having had to unbuckle and then rebuckle four carseats!!
- Laundry used to be a big problem for us. We are a family of 7. We (DH and I both work on laundry) would usually wait until somebody needed a piece of clothing – that of course was dirty – before doing laundry. It is a dreadful job. So we would have 20 loads of laundry to do and trying to do it all in a day’s time, and the last few loads would be left for the next laundry day… you know how it goes. However, we have overcome this delimma. We now have designated days for laundry, according to people. Sunday is for kids #3 & 4, Monday is for sheets (everone’s), Tuesday is for mine, DH’s and baby’s, Wednesday for towels (everone’s), Thursday is for kid #2 and Friday is for kid #1 – Saturday is our ‘free’ day. We are only doing 1-2 loads a day, and the sorting is much easier! (Kid 2 and 3 are similar in size, but since laundry is done seperately – we don’t have to guess what is for which kid!). We have the kids put away their own clothes, too, which helps a great deal (I hate putting away clothes, and used to wait a couple of days before doing so!)
- I have absolutely no advice about FLYing, but as an “expert” on big families (mom of 8) I can say that my kids were a CHOICE – not accident and if I had to do it all over again – I would!! My desire is for my kids – and ultimately their spouses & children – to know how much I love them! So I make time to write notes, call, or at least e-mail the married & college-age kids at least once a week. The neat thing about the Fly system is that I’m beginning to see my “duties” around the house as another way of saying “I love you & care about you” to them! Just wish I had started THEM on daily routines way back!