“Bedtime routines are still very important even with an 8 year old and a 13 year old. It makes them feel calm and they sleep better. Routines help us all.” – a member
“Today my dd and I (dh in the garden, cutting the grass and lopping the trees), have just finished de-cluttering her “playroom” (better known as the junk room). We have cleared out a total of SEVEN bags of rubbish and FIVE bags to recycle in the second-had shops (almost 7 years of toys and gifts – some of them still unopened presents – that seemed to go AWOL after birthdays and christmas). We love the space that is left and we have been going in and out all day and admiring it.” – a member in England
“I yelled a lot and got ignored… I felt completely out of control. Our lives were continous power struggles, nagging, and hurt feelings! My kids were rude computer/video game junkies who carelessly made messes and refused to help. Finally I stopped whining and became a real parent!” – a member
1. After 3 months of FLYing, my home looks amazing. My husband loves it and so do both my DD’s, 5 years and 8 years. My 8 year old has Down Syndrome. Last Saturday morning, my DH took her and went to get fresh bagels (my favorite) for breakfast. I was laying in bed enjoying my perfectly clean room. When they returned, she came upstairs and asked, “Mommy, do you want breakfast in bed?” I of course said “SURE!” Then she said, “Great! Come on down!” But DH explained what breakfast in bed is, and the three of them brought my bagel up to me and sat and watched me eat it! When I asked what the occasion was, my DH said, “We want you to feel as special today as you make us feel every day!” Thank you FLYLady for giving me this gift to share with them! – FLYing with crumbs in my bed (but not for long!) in Michigan
2. The evening routine has made the world of difference in our lives. The kids clothes are out for the morning, the lunches made, homework packed back in their bags. Whew, the morning is now a joy where we get to be happy together instead of stressed. The other thing is a simple routine chart for their bedroom doors- I divided the rooms into sections: bookshelf, floor, table, also soft toys, hard toys, dresser, and the last section is school bag for Sunday evening. I call it a 5 minute room rescue, and they just do the part of their room on the chart for the day. It takes moments, and they are so relieved not to have to do the whole room. Sometimes I help too, and thats fun too now, when I don’ t feel I have to tidy it all, all by myself! And, if we miss a day, we just jump in where we are now- no catching up!
3. Breakfast before school used to be a hassle until I set up a weekly menu, with the input of my school-age children. Now all of us know what is for breakfast every morning – Monday: cereal, Tuesday: waffles, Wednesday: oatmeal, Thursday: yogurt and toast, Friday: eggs, Saturday: cereal (to eat during cartoons!), Sunday: Mom’s special! There are no arguments, I am not expected to be a short-order cook and I know what I need to shop for every week! And I can indulge my creativity on Sunday mornings when we have more time to sit together and enjoy! – Flymommy of 3 on the south side of Chicago
4. My DS has his own control journal. Inside are his routines for morning, after school and before bedtime. He got excited when I gave it to him saying that now he has a list just like Mommy! His control journal is in a 3 ring binder (like mine) and his routines are in plastic sleeves (just like mine) and he has his own dry erase marker in his favorite color (green) and he enjoys checking off each item everyday!!! It gives him a sense of accomplishment and saves my sanity…especially in the morning. All I have to ask him is if he did his list, not the old ‘Did you brush your teeth…your hair….make your bed….put your dirty clothes in the hamper….eat breakfast…etc’ My DS is only 6 so any child can do it!! – Flying in Arkansas
5. Hi Ladies!! My family has all adapted to the FlyLady “system” since Sept. of 2002. It has changed our lives dramatically!! Most importantly, we have so much less clutter (not much at all now) and our home stays clean all the time. Plus “MAMA IS HAPPY”!! I have 2 school age children (8 and 11.5) and I work full time, so I already had somewhat of a morning routine in place. We have tweaked it a little to become even more efficient. I made Fly Lists for each child and put it on their bedroom door. Sometimes, I just say, “check your list”!
This is what our morning routine looks like:
- I get up, have coffee, watch the news, then shower.
- Get kids up, fix their breakfast (DH packs lunches).
- Kids get showered/dressed, teeth, etc. and make their own beds, pajamas in hamper.
- While they are getting dressed, I finish getting ready.
- Everyone grabs their bags/backpacks and we’re off!
Evening routine is something like this:
- Homework is done the minute we walk in the door. (I started this when they started school, so it is routine).
- Sign assignment books, check over any papers brought home.
- Check backpacks for any other info I need or things to sign/return.
- While kids are doing homework, I start supper and “reboot” the laundry.
- Kids play outside/watch tv/whatever until suppertime.
- After supper is family time, tv, movie, games, etc. (not every night but some).
- 8:30pm-kids brush teeth, pajamas, lay out clothes for tomorrow, pick up any toys lying around, and read in bed.
- All the backpacks/bags are ready to go the evening before, so we generally don’t forget anything important.
- Clothes being laid out the night before eliminates any problems with that.
I know my routine is nothing spectacular, but it works wonderfully for us!! Oh, one other thing that helped with their rooms was totally decluttering!! We got rid of TONS of stuff!! Now it is so empty that it is a snap to pick up the one or 2 things that may be lying around. Also, when we first got started, I would tell them to go to their rooms and put 2 things away, or pick out 2 things to give away that they don’t play with any longer. I told them they were NOT allowed to give away more than 2 things right now! So, of course they wanted to give away about ten!! LOL Not only was it reverse-psychology, but it also made the task not seem to huge. Putting away 2 things was something they could do quickly, cleaning up their rooms was not! I would do this several times a day (especially on weekends) and it became habit for them, I think!
6. I think this was actually someone else’s idea, but we have adapted it a bit and it works well. I have a small basket near the TV. Anytime I find Yu Gi Oh cards, toys, books, or other items belonging to my sons they go in the basket. After school or at other times I tell them to take three (or whatever number) of items from the ROUNDUP BASKET and put them away. I change the number depending on my whim or on the number of items to be put away. Credit for the name of the basket goes to my 7yo who also coined the phrase “five item roundup” — a small chore that is part of their evening routine. – Flybaby (and sons) from Wylie
7. On Sundays we all eat in the Dining Room with our Good Dishes. I set the table very pretty and inform the children…Dinner is Served In the Dining Room! Conversation must be pleasant and good manners are a must. The kids really rise to the occasion and act beautifully. After dinner the kids clean up and we retire to a movie or a game. It has taught my children how to behave in a social setting and also when we entertain they know exactly how to remove the dishes and clear the table quietly. Having younger children it would be too costly to eat at a fine restaurant each week but this is a perfect way to teach social skills! Most of all the kids Love It! – from Northern Virginia
8. I have an 8 yr old and a 4 yr old. I have started them on their own routines. My son, the 8 yr old, is a major complainer, now he knows what he has to do in the morning before school and at night before he goes to bed. His attitude has done a major turn around! Now when I ask if the bed is made, etc, I get “Yes mom. And my teeth are brushed, etc.” He even picks up his own room! Thanks to Flylady I am FLYing!!
9. I read a neat tip in a magazine years ago and we still use it today.. as part of the bed time routine we make a “clothes kid” for the next day. Lay all the clothes you need for tomorrow on the floor in the shape of a kid..socks at the end of the jeans, shirts on the top ect.. When they where younger, they tried to make the “kids” as realistic as possible..Now the 11 and 9 year olds just put all their stuff in a pile at the end of their beds, but i still have to be careful not to step on the 4yo’s “kid”. The next morning the task of searching for the socks is over… I have also given each child a “morning chore”, since my 11yog is the last one to leave the bathroom, she uses the hand towel to wipe the mirror, sink, and floor before tossing it down the laundry shoot. my 9yos uses a small piece of toilet parer to wipe down the toilet seat and the area where it screws on to the toilet. it takes them each 30 seconds (we timed it), and really makes a difference . and… the big “r” word… Routines… i helped them map out their routines so they are not all in the bathroom at the same time (we only have one in our house). they each get 10-15 minutes in there and the whining and shouting has come to “almost” a stop. whew.. thanks fly lady…a fledgling mom …
10. I have been taking baby steps since the beginning of the year and it has made such a huge difference in him home already–not just my house! I’ve been blessed with a 7 yo boy and a 3 yo girl, and I have developed some great tools and routines to help them FLY!My son has ADHD, so any task more than 10 seconds in duration is a challenge for him and a source of stress for both of us! I have used digital times religiously since he was very little–for everything from time-outs to transition warnings (“3 minutes to dinner, bed, bus,” etc.). School day mornings can be a nightmare with him (as well as with most kids, I’m sure!), so I have developed “behavior charts” for him to use to keep his morning routines on track. He has one up in his room where he can check off every morning (BEFORE he comes downstairs) whether he has: put clothes on; dirty clothes down laundry chute; made bed; and washed face. Downstairs on the refrigerator, he has another chart where he can check off the things he has to do before he can turn on the TV and before he eats breakfast (shoes on and tied, backpack and lunch by front door). The bottom half of that chart lists the things he has to do after breakfast (potty, wash hands, brush teeth, comb hair, etc.). It has worked beautifully! Even though he rarely has to look at the charts any more (his routines are on auto pilot now!), I leave the charts up so that I can simply remind him to “check his chart” when I notice he’s forgotten to do something–which removes the “nag factor” from the morning! We go through his backpack together as soon as he walks in the door in the afternoon, and he and I can talk about his day while he eats his snack right after that.My 3 yo and I make her bed right after we make mine, and she is now in the habit of doing a “room rescue” of her toys right before she takes her nap. Both kids now do a “toy rescue” right before dessert time–which is the last thing before they go up for baths. My husband is BO (borderline anal retentive! *LOL) and I never realized until I started following FlyLady that he really does things by routine–clips his nails every Monday morning, sets his briefcase and what not by the garage door every evening, does his expense reports every Sunday evening, etc. . . You’d think after living with him for more than 15 years, I’d have figure the “routine thing” out on my own! Thank you, FlyLady and crew! – Babystepping in PA
11. I printed up a page with morning, after-school, and before bed routines for each of my children and used the self laminating sheets to laminate them right to their bedroom walls. My oldest (7) just LOVES knowing what is expected of him and my youngest (5) loves seeing things crossed off with a dry erase marker as he completes them–he also likes it when I draw a smiley face for completing an entire routine. flybaby in California.
12. Ooooohhh…. I am SO glad you are doing this. I am a teeny tiny FLYbaby…just started four zones ago, so I’ve not even flown all the way around my house yet! But already there has been a HUGE difference in how our home looks, and my stress level has been reduced tremendously! We are homeschoolers with children…AHEM…wasn’t sure what catagory to put this in…and by the way…how big is big? We have four children ages 5 to 11. Just this week we have started to create Control Notebooks for each child. Their categories include so far: Morning Routine, After School Routine, and Evening Routine (We included personal hygiene reminders as well as chores), the readers also have a Bible Reading Record included, and we are logging Memory Verses Memorized. They will eventually add their own emergency numbers, addresses, and personal section, and maybe even a section for their favorite menus! And yes, there will even be a FACE section for the money the earn doing extra chores around the house and birthday and tooth fairy money! Thanks for all your encouragement and the reminders to QUIT WHINING and DO SOMETHING! It has been truly life-changing to finally get through my head that it’s OK if I don’t get it ALL done. Even doing only one thing a day toward my goal is better than moping around and doing nothing! God Bless You, FLYlady team! – Sprouting Wings in Northern CA HS Pastorswife
13. Hey, there! Two boys, 8 and 11.. and they didn’t want to do housework any more than I did, LOL! Then I found FlyLady, and she said not to overwhelm them… well, who knew?Now, we have the following Sunday routine. Sunday isn’t the day when we want to do work, but this works best for us: After church, we come home and do a total family 15 to 30 minute session, each of us somewhere in the house and according to our talents. I take the kitchen, DH supervises DS 2 in the family room and works in the sunroom and garage, and DS 2 picks up upstairs or vacuums. What we accomplish in that time makes us proud. Then with DS 2, who has ADHD, I run a daily five minute room rescue before bed. He can’t seem to dress himself without emptying the dresser, so I just have him fill it back up! He and I also work on homework…. “You can do anything for 15 minutes!” DS 1 is BO, it seems (where’d that come from?) and I give him his chores and he does them, and I am grateful. He does still need reminders to feed the animals. The boys and DH really respond now to requests to pick up after themselves.. they don’t want to create or add to any hotspots! We ALL live the timer! – Flyin’ in MD without nagging! Who’d ‘a thunk it?
I have been told several times, that these tips and ideas are sooooo enjoyable, that before we know it many hours have passed us by and we feel like we have not accomplished anything. We are SHEs after all (Sidetracked Home Executives). Time for a Surprise! Before you read any further, quick, go check the kitchen table. Are the remnants and dishes from the last meal sitting there? Set your timer for 10 minutes, see how fast you can clear it up. Go Go Go! Let me know what you find. Send an email to FlyCrew@flylady.net and put “I did it” in the subject line.
14. It has been so much easier to get everything done since I learned the value of a routine. It use to be such a fight to get my 2nd grade ds to do his homework. We had tried many ways. Right after school sit down before playing. An hour of playtime then sit to do the homework. But now I have made a routine and stuck to it for 2 months. Dinner in our house is at 6. Immediately following dinner, he has come to do it as soon as his plate is finished. He gets his back pack and clears his place to sit with the homework. It has been much less stressful. No more fighting about it and now he is done in 30 minutes or less, every night. As he starts I start my dishes and dad starts clearing the table. Once his homework is done he even packs his snack for the next day and puts his backpack near the door so there is no hunt for it in the morning. Then it is shower/bath time. Most nights he asks to take a bath with his sister so they can play a little in the tub. He has a TV in his room and is allowed to watch it while he is laying down, but it goes off at 8:30, every school night. When I go in at 8:30 to tuck him into bed and turn off the TV, I lay out his complete outfit for school the next day. It has just been such a blessing. Who knew a little routine could do so much, and relieve so much stress. I also recently purchased a timer just for him. He often will give me 5 minutes of room cleaning. And we also use it to time his amount of game play. Game boy, Nintendo, play station, computer, however he chooses to divide it up is up to him but he only gets one hour a day. He also uses it to brush his teeth for the recommended 2 minutes. He loves his timer.
15. Well, some of this may be pretty obvious, but I think everything you can do to help your children be more organized also helps you to FLY! 1. I have hooks on the inside of the pantry door for lunchboxes. When my children come in from school, they have to unpack their own lunchboxes (we are still working on getting the plastic containers INTO the dishwasher-LOL) and hang the lunchbox on their hook. 2. THey have “cubbies” in a large pantry cabinet in the laundry room where their backpacks are stored. If I find anything school related lying around the house, I put in in their cubbie so all their things are together. This could also work with hooks somewhere (I used hooks before I had the pantry cabinet installed). If there is anything I need to see when they get home, it goes on my desk or in my hands, and then they put their backpacks away. 3. On Fridays, they get a big folder with their work from the week and things to sign/order, etc. I sit down the second they come in and go through their folders then and there. I save work that I want to keep, THROW OUT anything that I don’t, and sign/write checks for anything that needs to be done. Then the folder goes right back into their backpacks — I DO NOT want to have this all to do on Sunday evenings. 4. We have started doing 5 minute room rescues in their room periodically. Doing this a couple of times a week is like magic for keeping things neater and less overwhelming. I am still trying to talk them into a 27 fling boogie, but they are little packrats (they truly didn’t get this from me — I have NO problem getting rid of stuff). 5. I have been trying to do better about getting them to pick up their own toys and put them away when they are done. Before, I would wait until the last minute and then it’s bedtime, so I’d just put them in bed and be left with their messes to clean up. Of course, by the time I got done with that, there was no energy left for anything else. Having them pick up things now and then throughout the evening/weekend makes a big difference in how the house looks and also frees me up to clean and do what I need to be doing.* I pass along clothes to a friend once my kids have outgrown them. Having a box or special area on a shelf to keep all these things together is helpful. When there is a good amount I can just pack them up and take them to the post office — no more finding a stack of clothes somewhere the day AFTER a box has been shipped. When we GET hand me downs, I go ahead and look through them. I hang up things for them to grow into on the top rod in their closet. If there are things I don’t think we will use, they go in a box to be taken to Goodwill once it’s full.
16. Thanks for doing this — I am looking forward to hearing everyone’s ideas. One thing I never can get a handle on is library books — we usually have 30 or more at any given time. If they get upstairs, they seem to get put on our bookshelves and “lost” — if they all are downstairs, they get scattered around and are just in a big pile that is always falling down. I hope someone has ideas about this. – A Flybaby in NC
17. I am blessed to be the mother of two daughters, one who happens to be severely physically impaired with Rett syndrome. Her absence of hand use, speech, and mobility have given me some opportunities for creative FLYing. From the practical to the more esoteric, here are some tips that have evolved at our house: 1) Combine physical therapy exercises with chores, even if it means hand-over-hand assistance. I wasn’t finding time to do daily therapy exercises and get my housework done. Now, I hold the cloth in my daughter’s hand and have her wipe down the full-length mirror on her door–we get in some balance practice, standing, bending, stretching–and have a sparkly mirror when she’s done. Lots of balance and stretching happens when she helps fold laundry, with hand-over-hand and with me assisting with standing balance. If Daddy is helping her fold clothes, he has her eye-point to photos of our similarly-sized daughters to tell him in whose pile the folded clothes belong, both helping to get the sorting correct and reinforcing language therapy goals. With hand-over-hand help, we have found quite a lot of chores she can help with, including fun “chores” like baking. Another wonderful side benefit, in addition to exercise and a cleaner house, is that my daughter now gets a chance to feel she is making a contribution to the family instead of always being the recipient. This is so good for her self-esteem! 2) Look for ways to streamline repetitive tasks and turn them into routines scheduled for NON-peak times. For example, I cleared out a cupboard just for my daughter’s tube-feeding supplies and medications. Everything I need to measure out her formula and crush up her medicines is at my fingertips, so I no longer waste time rounding up supplies from various places throughout the house. A major change to my stress level came when I reorganized my schedule to make up her daily formula and clean her feeding supplies after lunch instead of during my morning routine, which had become overwhelmingly loaded with too many tasks. 3) Make productive use of “down time.” My daughter needs assistance using the toilet, so I try to make the regular 5-minute trips productive. I keep some of her homework in a bathroom cupboard so we can pick away at assignments every time she uses the toilet. Short, undistracted, frequent practice is a good way for lots of kids who tire easily or have difficulty focusing on a task. 4) Routines are doubly important when you are carrying them out for both yourself and for a child who cannot assist for herself. It is so helpful to have clothes picked out and ironed, all notes and homework organized in the wheelchair backpack the night before, etc. Staying on top of the laundry means there are always back-up outfits clean and unwrinkled in the event of a spit-up or potty accident. 5) Living with a disability has really taught me to plan ahead for the unforeseen! We keep emergency medical supplies in the car, in my purse, at school, at Grandma’s house–and just knowing they are handy helps remove a huge stress. We keep detailed checklists taped inside the kitchen cupboards so we don’t have to rely on memory in emergencies–a list of things that need to be done before we leave for the emergency room (i.e.: lock the doors and windows, take keys and cell phone and medications, etc.), medication schedules and routines for babysitters, etc.* Even though I gain immense energy from active involvement in my daughter’s life, I simply have to find at least 5 minutes in a day to pursue something that is an interest all my own. It’s hard to do when health issues keep her home from school, but it’s still critical. It may mean she has to entertain herself with a video for a half-hour, but that gives her some time to unwind as well.
18. Similarly, maintaining other family members’ interests helps keep balance for everyone. It can be a juggling act, but it breathes health and vitality into each one of us singly and together as a family unit.
19. Look for positive ways to channel the challenging feelings that come with parenting a special needs child. There are frustrations and griefs unique to this special kind of parenting, but funneling them into negative talk or defensive actions doesn’t help anyone FLY. Instead, I try to channel my feelings by helping at my daughter’s school, by researching advances in technology that could assist her, by supporting other parents whose children share the same medical issues as mine, by involvement in organizations aimed at serving children with needs similar to my daughter’s. It is important to air the painful feelings that come along with special needs so they don’t remain bottled (my favorite is to write out all my ugly feelings and burn them), but then you have to pull yourself up by the bootstrap and move on. Wallowing in pity for your child or yourself is horribly destructive all the way around! Instead, turn that pity into helping and your attitude will do an about-face.
20. Don’t just brush off the “truisms” that abound in the special needs circles as being trite. There is a reason each of these came to be! It’s easy to push them aside when you are emotionally hurting, but instead look below the surface to see how they might apply. I used to scoff at the simplicity of the Serenity prayer, but now I find comforting peace from it. “Learn not to compare your life/child with others,” “celebrate the tiny things,” “take one day or hour (or 15-minute block) at a time,” “bloom where you are planted. . . ” The longer I live life as a parent blessed with a child with special needs, the more truth I discover in the statements I once found overly simplistic. And mottos I disagree with, I modify to fit. May God bless all families of children with special needs! FLYbaby in Washington State
Time for another Surprise! Before you read any further, quick, head into the closet or dresser of your littlest son and/or daughter. Find 3 things that they have outgrown and fling them! If they are in good condition, add them to your blessing box, so you can bless someone less fortunate. Go Go Go! Let me know what you find. Send an email to FlyCrew@flylady.net and put “I did it 3 things” in the subject line.
21. I don’t know if this is Flylady approved (LOL) as I have just become a flybaby, but here goes.. I have been decluttering on my own for a year now, and part of that process had included me flinging things that I considered worthless and didn’t think my kids would miss. Then I realized to my horror that my 2 oldest (DS7 & DD5) were starting to find and hoard everything from twist ties to toilet paper tubes, you name it. they were also hiding these things in their drawers etc…(easy for me to see, because I have always kept my kids rooms simple – no clutter) I got an inspiration, and bought 2 small rubbermaid containers. they got to decorate and label them with their name. and I explained the rules:21. My kids are both in school now (kindergarten and grade 2). They have both morning and evening routines posted on our fridge, where they can check things off as they do them. Aside from their basic household chores (putting away their laundry, setting the table, feeding dogs etc.), they are responsible for making sure that their lunch bags are where I need them when I make lunches and that their backpacks are ready for the next day.This gives them time to play before the school bus in the morning and a much happier morning in general. – A Calgary Flybaby
22. * No toys that belong to all the kids, (we have other labeled bins for the “sets” of toys – this is just for those things they want to call their own)
* no hiding anyone else’s things, (like mommy’s timer! lol)
* NOTHING that is biodegradable!
* the lid must fit on and close properly.
If the lid fails to fit, it will be their responsibility to do a “boogie”. (Consequence of failure to comply is that I fling the whole thing) I no longer care if they save the partially complete kinder surprise toy,as long as it is safely in their box away from the younger siblings. well, I am excited to report that it appears to be working, they have been flinging things so easily now because they don’t want it to take up room in their treasure box! and I have peace because I am not trying to convince them that something is worthless, or hoping they won’t notice it’s missing or putting up with it cluttering my counter because it has to be up away from the little ones. – Flybaby in BC Canada
23. Dear FlyLady – I have been a flybaby for a few months now. I have arranged a system which has helped us tremendously during the school/work week. I have three children, ages 12, 9, and 6. Their grade levels are sixth, third, and kindergarten. Each child attends a separate school and has to be at school at a different time each morning. I prepare my youngest child’s lunch the night before, and my middle child prepares her own. My oldest buys lunch. I prepare a breakfast basket the night before so that they can help themselves to breakfast in the morning. It varies daily, depending on what I have on hand. It can include muffins, biscuits, bagels, cereals (hot or cold – we have instant hot water dispenser), etc. They are capable of getting their own juice. I have individually labeled containers for their vitamins, which I also put out the night before. They clear their own place at the table when finished. By our main entrance which is the back/laundry room/mud room door, I have placed hook for each person in the family. Above each hook is a heart with the person’s name on it. Each hook is nice and big and holds a coat, hat, purse, keys, scarf, you name it! On the floor below are two large, shallow baskets. One is for shoes or boots and the other is for school backpacks. I am about to install a shelf above the hooks on which I will place each child’s individual laundry basket. When they arrive home from school, they dump their backpack and shoes, hang up their coat, and go straight upstairs to put away laundry. This did not happen overnight! They still need reminding at times! Babysteps, you know! Finally, since all three are at different schools and have very different schedules, I made a chalkboard and divided it into three sections and labeled each section with each child’s name. This is right by the door. The night before, I write any special information about school (Math test, report due, etc.) or extra-curricular activities (Girl Scouts, etc.) for the following day. It is keeping us all much calmer! As stated by Fly Lady, “this is not rocket science.” I have learned that by sticking to these routines and methods, our lives are much less complicated and hurried. – Flybaby in Long Island
24. In our family, laundry is put away in dresser drawers that are separated into good/school clothes and play clothes. This way, each night when my kids go to get their pjs on they also bring down their school outfit for the next day.
25. Summer is coming, soon, and with it will come the “Mom, I’m bored” complaints. When I was a child, we all learned quickly not to complain to my mother that we were bored, because she would get “that look,” and say, “Well, let me give you something to do!” It was inevitably extra chores, and unpleasant ones, at that. This doesn’t sound like a way to FLY, to me. No wonder I hated housework. I would suggest that people start NOW to prepare for the summer doldrums and beyond. Have several 15 minute brainstorming sessions with your family, where you get together and list some of the fun activities they like to do. Just to spice things up, you may also want to list a few brief and unpopular chores, something they don’t enjoy but can and will tolerate for 15 minutes. It’s a bit like gambling, only you don’t lose money. The adventurous risk-takers in your family will enjoy the added spice. You may also want to list some good family activities, as well as homework activities, such as reading for 15 minutes from the summer reading list or 15 minute math drills. Once you have built up a good list of activities, break it into separate lists: Unsupervised Indoor, Unsupervised Outdoor, Supervised Indoor, Supervised Outdoor, and Wish List. Then make 4 cute little jars, cute the Unsupervised & Supervised lists into little strips, fold up the papers, and put them in the jars. The Wish List will consist of activities that take a lot of time and/or planning. Keep the Wish List by your calendar. When your kids tell you they are bored, do a quick check of your calendar, the weather, and other environmental concerns, and decide which of your four jars will apply. If it’s too hot to go outside, and you’re swamped in the middle of a project, let them pick an activity from Unsupervised Indoors. If you have time to play with them, and the weather is fine, pick something from Supervised Outdoors. You never know what you’ll get, so kids will love the element of surprise, but you still maintain some basic control. Don’t forget to reserve the right to postpone an activity that just doesn’t fit in your schedule for that particular time. You can put it back in the jar, or move it to your calendar. Once a week, on desk day, you can schedule all of the postponed activities, as well as one or two items from the Wish List. What happens if your child picks out an unpleasant activity? Remind them that they can do anything for 15 minutes, and when they’re done, reward them with another go at the jar. They’re bound to pull out something fun the most of the time, and the small possibility of having to beat the rugs for 15 minutes will keep them guessing, and add to the excitement. Remember to take the one-time-only or rarely used (help Mother clean out the dryer vent) activities out of circulation, but to put the repeatable activities (such as reading list, coloring, playing board games) back into the jars. You can re-do this list every season to keep it up to date, the activities fresh, and add seasonal activities such as pressing autumn leaves or building a snow fort.
26. I do several things at home to make our life with children (2 girls, age 10 and 7) easier. We installed a coat hook by the back door. Each time the girls go into the house, they know where to put their coat. If they take off their shoes they either go on the mat at the door or in their closet — those are the only 2 choices available. Each evening when we do homework, the girls must take out all notes, etc. for Mom & Dad to see, get a signature on anything that must be returned, and then they proceed with doing their homework. Once the homework is complete and everything is in the backpack that must go to school, they are responsible for putting their backpacks at the top of the stairs each night before they go to bed. This ensures me that they won’t be forgotten the next morning. If we don’t lay out the next days clothes at bed time, we at least discuss what they might want to wear so that in the morning there’s no hassle. When the girls are given a task to complete, they know they have 15 minutes on the timer! We are a very routine oriented family. Some may think that we are too much so, but I’m a firm believer that routines become habit and the habits we have created work extremely well for our family. New to FLYing, Kansas
27. My 8 year old DD has a “mini” routine that she is responsible for. After her homework is done, we hang her backpack on the door handle ready for the morning. Then we take her lunch bag into the kitchen and prepare her lunch. The lunchbag then goes into the refrigerator. Each night before bed, she brushes her teeth and washes her face. Then before we read her bed-time story, we pick out her clothes for the next day. On our way to the bedroom, we look in the dining room and living room for any of her toys that may have “escaped” from her room and put them away. She is also beginning to make her bed when she gets up, without being reminded to do so. She loves to use the feather duster, and is willing to help out with extra things like organizing the videos (we keep them in alphabetical order, and this reinforces what she is learning in school.) We remind her that if we all pitch in and do a little bit each day, we can all have lots of fun at the week-end. Flying in Georgia
28. I have a DD who’s in first grade (and 2 younger DSs). First of all, I check my DDs book bag as soon as we get home, and she does her homework while I’m getting supper ready. She also decides what she’s going to wear the next day. The other thing I do that helps with the morning rush is this: On Sunday night, we go over the school lunch menu for the next week. She decides which days, if any, she wants to bring her lunch. (She’s allowed to bring her lunch twice a week.) This way there are no hassles (at least with lunches!) during the week and I can plan ahead. Flybaby in South Dakota
29. I have found that a backpack checklist has really helped my son stay organized with his school stuff. I laminated his checklist (one side is for warm weather and one side is for cold weather!) which includes everything from his lunch money to snow pants as well as his school work. The list hangs on the hook his backpack goes on, and he is responsible for collecting everything and getting his bag ready the night before school — it sure saves a lot of time in the morning–no more running around looking for library books etc!!!
30. I have to tell you my friend and I thoroughly enjoyed our “road trip” to Tiffin. I am a native of Ohio, and we were excited to be able to meet and listen to Marla “Flylady” and Kelly. What an inspiration you all are to every woman in the universe. Thanks for touching our lives. Anyhow, I noticed that many of us “moms” are needing to teach and share these simple ways of life to our children ( so they are trapped in the same SHE as we have discovered ourselves to be in). I have to say, my child is in elementary, and I came home from that Tiffin trip, and decided to make a small “flybug” journal for my daughter. Yes, I kept only up to 5 or 6 step routines. But I kept the morning, afternoon and before bedtime routine in the same format as Flylady book suggest. She now has the same sheets with plastic covers and a favorite colored dry eraser to check off with. She was excited to see a step in the afternoon that said, Did you treat yourself and go outside to play? Another one I added was, Did you practice your multiplication facts? Did you pack your school bag? Did you get all the important notes you need? Go to bed no Later than 9p.m. And lastly she said at the end of the day, when I was tucking her in, Mom, you forgot one.???? Did I say my prayers. Thanks for sharing your love and ideas, as I feel it’s a dominoe effect, your love has taught so many to share the much needed time and love to ours. ( from OHIO)
OK, now we are headed into the bulk toy storage area. Before you read any further, go to the toy area and find three toys that your kids have outgrown, or broken. Fling Fling Fling! Let me know what you find. Send an email to FlyCrew@flylady.net and put “I did it toys” in the subject line.
31. I have been FLYing since December and have found a change in my kids attitudes along with mine. I have 3 girls (ages 4,5&7) We have put together a list of things for each of the girls complete with pictures so even my 4&5 year old understand them. At first my 7 year old was going for really big stuff like helping with the dusting, but we sat down and discussed that on her report card her teacher mentioned that she needs to work on getting ALL of her supplies to school when required (library books, homework etc.) so we have put things like get dressed, make bed, brush hair, pack backpack (GEEEEEEE sound familiar??LOL) on her list. It really seems to be working. Also during my “White tornado hour” the girls love to help. They see that I am actually enjoying myself instead of trudging around yelling and screaming that they are making a mess. They all want to help so I give them age appropriate things from the “Blessing” list. I have always tried to say that many hands make light work. But I have found that showing them was better. We go into their room when it gets messy and before I used to order them to clean up the pig sty Now I say hey girls you have no place to play lets all put the timer on and see if we can beat it. Now with many hands and a piece of gum at the end the rooms are cleaned and EVERYONES happy. – in Ontario Canada
32. I know this is not a new idea but it works so amazingly well that I can’t get over it! I taught my 9 and 7 year olds to use the timer on the microwave. Our microwave lets you set the timer without turning the oven on, plus the timer will never get lost. It beeps loudly enough that if you are listening for it you can hear it pretty well even if you are not in the kitchen. We set the timer for 15 minutes and do a Super Tidy – I assign tasks to each one and they rush to do it and rush back and salute me and ask for the next task. It all happens so fast that I literally have to think up extra tasks for them! (pair and line up the shoes by the door, go under the Living room chairs and get the coins, etc)I dedicate one session to one thing: usually tidying, sometimes we do cleaning instead (they can dust and clean glass, my oldest can vacuum), and sometimes decluttering/throwing out although they are not as good at that one yet! I don’t do this more than a few times a week and though they may moan before they start, once they get going they enjoy it, and they always tell their Dad proudly when he gets home.
33. When my son was in the second grade, I did as much getting him ready for school as he did. So I made a chart of all the things he needed to do before school and hung it in his room so he could just go down the list and check them off as he went along. In about a month, he was getting himself ready for school and I was not part of it. Today he is in the 7th grade. Gets up to an alarm clock, and gets himself ready for school. Many of his friends parents can’t believe he gets ready for school on his own. His schedule started out looking like this:6:30 Shower and dress (don’t forget to take your clothes out of the bathroom)
7:00 eat breakfast and rinse dishes
7:15 brush teeth
7:20 gather things for school
7:30 head out to the bus
7:35 leave for school and have a great day!
- flybaby in Minnesota
34. Three things I’ve done since flylady that have helped me ENORMOUSLY with my school aged children:
a) have a snack ready and on the table when they come charging in after school.
b) know what’s for dinner, even if I haven’t started it yet!
c) make lunches the night before
These three things have made our time together in the afternoons so much more peaceful, and some mornings we actually have time for a conversation! Food is such a prominent part in a child’s life–preparing it can take up so much of our time if us mom’s aren’t on top of it! So planning ahead has enabled me to spend more time checking homework and keeping in touch with my school aged kids.P.S. In a year or two when more evening practices kick in, I’m contemplating serving dinner right after school, then just a snack later after all the running around……. Love PA flybaby
35. Here are my tips:
School clothes are laid out the night before, including socks and shoes.
School backpacks are waiting by the door with everything (papers that need signing and homework) in it and ready to go out the door.
Jackets are beside backpacks.
Bowls and cereal are laid out and ready to be fixed in the morning.
I give a 2 minute warning before they have to get out of bed and this makes them feel like they are “cheating” the morning routine, though I actually just give them the 2 minute warning, 2 minutes ahead of schedule
Bedtime routines are still very important even with an 8 year old and a 13 year old. It makes them feel calm and they sleep better. Routines help us all.
36. I used to use weekly chore charts for my children (now aged 11, 9, and 6). You know the ones, with boxes to check for each chore, each day of the week. They were great, IF we stayed with it the whole week (which we NEVER did), then the kids (and I) would feel frustrated and like failures if the whole thing wasn’t full of check marks or stars. I have been slowly putting a control journal together for me, with my routines on paper. I thought why not make a morning routine for my children? No boxes to check every day, because even they can jump in on Wednesday and not be behind, right?! So here are the lists we use (and some days we don’t finish the morning one until bedtime, and some days not at all, but that’s OKAY!). I printed them out on pretty paper and put them in page protectors. In the morning, I say “DD’s name, time for your check” and she answers “CHECK” for items as I ask about them. They love being responsible for their own actions and being able to say they’ve already done it! The two older kids even asked for their own copy to keep in their room! Thanks Fly Lady, with your help, me AND my babies are learning to fly! flybaby in Fort Collins, CO
MORNING CHECK LIST
put 10 things away
AFTERNOON CHECK LIST
put away school stuff
empty back-pack (lunch)
BEDTIME CHECK LIST
check tomorrow’s calendar
put 10 things away
be tucked in
37. I know it’s usually not a good idea to purchase more stuff when we’re trying to declutter. I usually try to use what I already have available, but this time I’ve found a tool that I think is the exception to this rule. Store It makes a kid’s hanging closet organizer that has 5 sections labeled Monday thru Friday (for each day of the school week) and two smaller shelves for shoes. The intention is to have a place to lay out a week’s worth of clothes to make mornings easier. I’ve found that it works even better than setting the clothes on top of a dresser because this way I only have to think about clothes once a week! Pottery Barn sells them, but I got my daughter’s on eBay for really cheap. And I like it so well that I plan to get one for my own clothes! ~Seattle Flyer
38. I have been trying hard to teach my 2 dd’s, ages 9 and almost-11, that flying is rewarding and will make our lives better. One day I realized that what really encourages and pushes me along is all the Flywashing e-mails I get, but my dd’s were not getting that part. Now I make a point to read or show them things from Flylady’s website that will interest and inspire them. They LOVE hearing about the weirdest items decluttered every Super Fling Boogie, and they also like hearing a funny poem or inspirational e-mail. This week we are all doing our bedroom zones, and I have been sharing Kelly’s missions with them, but letting them choose if there is another part of their room they want to work on. This is a small way of sharing the “flywashing” with them, and I think it really helps! Thank you for all your encouragement–for flybabies of all ages!!! Flying with my girls in KY
39. Every time we get out of the car after each and every outing, I announce “everyone take 2 things that don’t belong in the car and take them to where they do belong!” Since I am always out and about running errands, the car gets cleaned in no time and all that is needed occasionally is a good vacuuming! The car is always in good enough shape for anyone to take an unexpected ride with us!
40. At the beginning of the school year I created a “list” of the morning routine for my kindergarten age dd. I glued both digital photos and brief words on bright paper and slipped it in a sheet protector – it is a double-sided “list”. I tried to include everything she was expected to do in the morning all the way down to even a picture of the toilet to remind her to go potty before school (she has been known to forget). Or to give the dog a treat each morning, which promoted a bonding experience between child and dog. Then there are the standard things like get dressed, put on shoes, put lunch in backpack, eat breakfast, etc. I included the words so that when she was able to read she could read as well as see the task. She is just there now with the reading and it is a magical sight to see your child actually read words and stories. I can’t say that every morning has been smooth this school year, but the list has helped both of us to keep on task of what needs to be done in the mornings. And I only have to bug her about one thing – “do your list” – instead of telling her to do the 10 or so items on the list. Flying in Houston
41. Hi, here’s a laundry suggestion for infants, preschoolers, and school-age kids: After filling up 3 kitchen size bags with unmatched, old, & ugly socks left-over from their infant/toddler days, I have resolved to buy only white socks from now on. They are easier to clean (bleach), the kids don’t fight over them, and if you stick to one style, you rarely have matching issues. My kids are only 2 years apart and can still wear roughly the same size, so the sock battle is halfway over. – (a fly-toddler in MD)
42. I joined flylady in late January, and after starting my morning and evening routines, decided to help my 3 children too. I yell “10 thing fling” (I thought 27 was a bit overwhelming at 11, 9 and 7) they race through their rooms and find ten things for the bin. What an inspiration is competition. I’m also working on a morning routine for them. Every night when I put them to bed, I remind them that in the morning when they wake up, they must make their bed, get dressed including shoes (a tough one) and then come out for breakfast. That way they are ready to start their day. It’s baby steps, but it’s a start to good habits. Thanks fly-team. – (Brisbane – Australia)
43. Almost 21 years ago, our second DS was born 10 weeks early. We had all the usual crises that all parents of preemies have, and he survived them all (after being given a 50/50 chance of surviving the first 24 hours, then the first week, etc.). At the age of 8 months, he was diagnosed with having infantile seizures (epilepsy), cerebral palsy, and cortical visual impairment. Our beautiful baby with the spirit of a survivor was ‘multiply handicapped’, ‘profoundly handicapped’, ‘special needs’, etc. As he was being diagnosed, I discovered that I was pregnant again (the IUD failed!). I was in “Super Mom” mode: 5 year old DS, a baby facing multiple challenges, a full time, demanding career, a new baby in the works, a wonderful DH, etc. I figured we could handle whatever we were dished out. In researching cerebral palsy, looking for a magical ‘cure’, I came across a book about patterning. It required 18 hours a day of continual hands-on movements with the child, so it would mean using up all of our ‘extra’ time & energy, and that of our family & friends, in the hope of gaining some improvement in our DS’s movements. I took our DS to his pediatrician, to inquire about the value of patterning. He didn’t know much about it, so he called in his senior colleague (who turned out to be my childhood pediatrician). This wise, old doctor said “Take him home and love him”. That’s what we did. Hubby and I had a long discussion about our family. We decided to love them all. Equally. Always. Our oldest DS who was very precious to us (and needing his own, special attention as it turned out he was dyslexic, as well as being brilliant and athletic). Our special DS with the long eyelashes, beautiful smile and angelic appearance and personality. Our new baby (now 19 and off on a world tour), who was born healthy, independent, and clutching the Copper T IUD. Each of our 3 sons has always had our love. Each of them, at various times, needed more time and attention than the others at that moment. At no point did we sacrifice the interests of one in favor of another. Nor did we sacrifice our own marital relationship. We managed to create a wonderful family life, with the help of each other, and the help of others around us. We learned to ask for help. To advocate for ourselves and our children. To accept the help that was available and offered. To be clear in our dealings with social workers, therapists, homemakers and so on, exactly what help we needed to keep our special DS at home with us. He still needs 24 hour care, 7 days a week. Diapers, feeding, changing, and so on. Our reward is his fabulous laugh, the purity of his love, the honesty of his emotions. We gratefully accept the help that comes his way – adult day programs, some homemaker services, monthly respite (to keep our marital relationship healthy). It wasn’t easy or a smooth ride, but we made it! Now, with the help of FLYLADY, our home is becoming a haven. No more clutter at the front entry. Shiny sink, empty dishwasher, clean counters. On the Saturdays when I’m not teaching, DH and I have a family day with our special DS, doing errands that DS enjoys, having lunch out, walking along a sea wall or park path. Saturday night is our Date Night. A homemaker comes in and plays with DS and puts him to bed. Weekday dinners are calm, relaxed, with a beautifully set table, lit candles, and fabric napkins. My life has a rhythm. Each day has a focus. And this weekend, while DS is in respite, DH and I are re-painting our own master bedroom sanctuary. It has been decluttered over the last couple of months, so it’s ready for a fresh coat of paint. Thank you Flylady, Kelly, and Leanne – you have brought PEACE to our home and banished CHAOS. – Love, flybaby in Cloverdale, BC
44. Hi, I’d like to tell you about getting up in the morning with my boys, ages 6 and 9 years old! Oh MY! We couldn’t get anything done and I’d always end up blowing up because I just CAN’T be late for work. It is my responsiblilty to teach them how important it is to be ON TIME! My oldest son has asthma and he MUST take his inhalers before he leaves or the cold air causes him to have an attack before he gets off the sidewalk. He also has to wait 5 minutes and then take another puff and then switch inhalers and take 2 more puffs and then rinse his mouth out. It is not a quick process. Most days I’d remind him several times but he always say “Oh mom, I forgot to take my medicine!” just as we are heading out the door! My younger son could never find all of his winter gear, library book, or thing to share and that would delay us too. I would always end up not looking my best and feeling bad about myself at work because I was taking care of them instead of myself. Well one day I took my control journal and added a morning and evening routine for each of them. I put a tab especially for them with their name on it so they could flip right to it and I kept it on the kitchen table. For my oldest I listed each thing he should do in the ORDER he should do it in. So he gets dressed and then takes one puff, he eats breakfast, then takes the next puff…then he brushes his teeth, takes the remaining puffs and rinses. I also wrote in by each thing a time limit and showed him how to set the timer himself. I also added the incentive of reading if he gets finished with time left over (no TV is allowed during weekday mornings!) He will rush though his routine, setting the timer for each thing, and he will usually finish with enough time to read for 10 minutes or more!!!My 6 year old is NOT a morning person so he uses his night-time routine more. I also made his list with only one easy word for each thing so he can read it all by himself. He likes the independence it gives him to do it all by himself without grown-up or big brother help. He picks up his toys before he can come to the dinner table, then after dinner he packs his backpack with everything he needs the next day, locates two gloves, hat and boots, lays out his clothes, puts on his pajama’s, brushes his teeth and then he reads me a beginner book and then I read to him and tuck him in. In the morning his routine is very simple and it includes extra wake up time and time to himself. I also planned for them to be brushing their teeth and eating breakfast at different time. This cuts down on bickering! When he is done he can look at picture books and books he can read without help or his flash cards. In the end, both of them are reading quietly while I am getting ready for work! I look more professional and feel more confident at work! -An AK flybaby
45. I find that if I can dedicate a small amount of time to let my child “debrief” after school, she is much more content to jump into the routines of the family. After all, she has been gone all day and wants to know that she was missed, and that we are glad to see her. If I dismiss her work, or activities that day, she is more defiant and is not willing to help out when I ask in the evening. I keep reminding myself that everyone deserves FLYing and I need to show my children that they are important and loved each and every day. I may forget to do that to myself, but they don’t let you forget. It comes through in their behavior, performance at school and willingness to work at home.
46. My 6-yr-old ds is currently being treated for asthma–I am very careful not to refer to him as asthmatic. I don’t want him to be his disease! One way I’ve been able to help my ds have a good attitude about taking his meds is to use the FLY principle of making it fun and easy. We call his medicine his “puffies”, and the process of taking it “getting puffified”. At night he takes four puffs, so we read a book during the process. My timer is my best friend for this–I don’t have to watch the clock to see when he needs his next puff. Morning or night, I always make sure to put a smile on my face during the process. Why shouldn’t I smile–these meds are wonderful! He’s so much healthier now, and it shows in his now beautiful complexion. Signed, a FlyBaby in Costa Mesa, CA
47. I have found it helps to have everyone excited about the big picture of why we are doing this. Each member of our family is part of the team, and we all have the same goal – to have a happy, peace-filled (not clutter-filled) home life. Each child has specific responsibilities and we use lots of positive reinforcement when they are done well, using these opportunities to point out that by living up to their individual duties it has helped the entire family. And when we do fun things together we remind each other that we are able to do this because we have our work done. It sure keeps things running smoothly!
48. I am the mother of 5 children, including a 14 yo special needs child, and we homeschool. One thing that works well in our home is to have the children clean “zones”. I have the kitchen, dining and computer area, living room, and school room as zones for the kids to take care of. The 4 youngest are responsible for tidying up their zone and they rotate on a weekly basis. On a good day I like to have them check their zones in the morning, afternoon and before bed but that is the ideal and we don’t reach that all of the time! The 3 yo needs help of course but it’s my belief that they are never too young to start. My special needs child has to keep her bathroom and bedroom picked up. Since she is in a wheel chair and has use of only one hand I keep her assignment consistent.
49. Take advantage of “car” time. Some of the best moments with my 12 year old son are just the 2 of us in the car on the way to and from our busy schedules. Turn off the radio and just listen intently to what your child has to say. I have learned ALOT in these spurts of time about his friends and just about his heart. (You also have a very captive audience.) Learning to fly in Texas
50. Since joining fly-lady just 3 weeks ago, I have started to take baby-steps with my children, too. After every meal, I ask them to put their dishes in the dishwasher. I am amazed at how few dishes I now have to wash. I’m also not getting frustrated with them when they forget, because I remind myself that it takes 28 days to establish a new habit. This goes for my kids, too. Being gentler with myself as I learn my new habits has allowed me to be gentler with my children, too. – Flybaby in Round Rock, TX
51. I have 3 children. My oldest is 20 and in college-not at home making a mess anymore-LOL. When he was 9 and younger he loved to roll in the mud and we had a lot near our house. I decided that he was tall enough and old enough to learn to do his own laundry. So I taught him how. Each child has gone through the milestone of turning 9 and being able to do their own laundry. My youngest could hardly wait till she tuned 9!!! She is 12 now and the novelty and excitement has worn off but I never have to tell them to do their laundry. I offered to do whites because of adding bleach but most of the time they would just rather do it themselves. I continue to do sheets (they take them off the beds on laundry day), towels, my dh’s, and mine. Once in a while I am asked for help and I am now teaching my 17 year old to iron, I certainly don’t want to iron his cargo pants!!! My only word of caution is you need to let go of your idea of the perfect way to wash, fold, and put away the clothes because your kids will develop their own style.
52. I’ve found that the best tool for my 6 year old daughter is a section in my control journal just for her. I had her help in creating her own morning and before bed routines for herself. We printed these out using our color printer, added stickers and put them in page protectors. She just loves using the dry-erase markers every day to cross off what she’s accomplished. And the best thing is, she can now do all her routines without having to ask me, “What’s next?” FLYbaby in Michigan
53. Every night before bed, I have my 6 YO son do a five minute room rescue. We set the timer, and he doesn’t complain because it’s only a short time. He has trouble keeping his room clean, and I told him I’m going to do a 27 fling boogie every week in his room until he has an amount of stuff he can control. FLYbaby in California
54. Dear Flylady Team, My 11 year old has a three-ring-binder control journal with just three pages. They are her short, simple routines for morning, for after school and for bedtime. Her bedtime routine, the most important, is 1) Find shoes and 2) Put schoolwork in backpack. After school, it’s “Show Mom homework assignments,” “Do homework,” and “Practice flute.” Morning is just “Feed cat” and “Brush hair.” She wrote and decorated each page herself and put each one in a plastic report cover. There’s a dry marker tied to a ring of the binder so she can check off that she’s done each item, and then wipe it off to reuse the next day. We’re both amazed at what a big difference these baby steps are making. Gathering her things the night before takes the stress out of morning and helps us get out on time. And sometimes she realizes she’s missing something the night before, in time to take care of it. She’s happier and more at peace. – in California
55. While I am not capable of making routines, because I am scared to commit my time to anything, we do have a it of a friday afternoon routine – baths, setting the table for shabbat (which I usually wind up doing0 and putting away laundry – all laundry that has not yet been put away during the week gets sorted into one basket per child, an everyone is responsible to put their own stuff away. so far, the two oldest children are very good about doing their part. They even help their little sister and brother sometimes. Also, after I light shabbat candles, (I learnt this from my sister-in-law) , each child gets a thank you for their help getting ready for shabbat, and a small “beginning of shabbat treat”
56. My ds age 8 and my dd age 10 used to really have a fit when asked to clean their rooms. Not anymore! They love the 15 minute pick-up that we do which is modeled after Flylady’s “you can do anything for 15 minutes.” Gradually their rooms are looking better — they are finding toys they thought were lost and I can even get to my son’s closet now! The hard part is remembering to do 15 minutes every day before bedtime! Maryland Fly Baby
57. My Flybabies (your Fly-Grandbabies!) are doing so well with their weekly “home blessings.” I have a DS, age 7, and a DD, age 10. We have a two-story home and the upstairs includes their two bedrooms and bathrooms, their playroom and an open loft area. For several weeks now, on Wednesday afternoons after school and homework, we get together to do their upstairs “home blessing.” I typed them each out a list of chores, put the lists in plastic sheet protectors and gave them each a dry-erase marker to check off their progress as they go. They each have their own timer and feather duster…and good attitudes! We crank up the music and have a blast. Their chores, which they are very capable of doing, include picking up everything and putting it in its place, dusting, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom (counters, mirrors, potty and tub), mopping the bathroom floor (thanks to Swiffer wet mop), wiping fingerprints off doors, emptying their trash (taking it downstairs and out into the garage), and taking their feather dusters outside to “bless the world.” They have ten minutes to do each task, but they “beat the clock” every time and race to get it all done. We’re usually through in half an hour, then go downstairs together for a special treat (hot chocolate, brownie, etc. Something we don’t usually have.)My role is to carry the vacuum cleaner upstairs, keep the kids on task, dance and be silly, and vacuum the stairs. (I also do lots of “noticing” things while I’m up there, and “do it now” when I come across something that needs attention — like getting spots out of the carpet or cleaning the ceiling fan blades. Before Flylady these kinds of things only got done in a great panic when spend-the-night company was coming.)I think this is incredibly valuable training. My kids are learning that their spaces are their responsibility. They are keeping things picked up better throughout the rest of the week (they don’t like having to waste time putting things away in the beginning of Home Blessing time). And I think they truly enjoy it because we do it together with smiles on our faces.I have learned so much from the Flylady method, and it’s making a wonderful difference in my home and stress level. I’m still very new to it but its amazing to be able to share the ideas with my children, and see them put into action. The other benefit is that when I do my own Home Blessing, it is just the downstairs, and I am not so overwhelmed with the thought of vacuuming, lugging the vacuum upstairs, and vacuuming again — even if it is just the middles! Thanks so much for all you have shared with us. My DD wants me to add that she likes having her own cleaning products in her bathroom, so she doesn’t have to wait for her brother to finish with the glass cleaner, etc. FLORIDA FLYBABY AND HER BABIES
58. I wanted my kids to learn responsibility and routine too. Each night at 5:00 they do an assigned room rescue. The Living Room gets picked up and vacuumed, The dishes in the kitchen are put away and the floor swept, and the bathroom gets picked up and the trash all gets hauled out. I start final dinner preperations and like magic the house is in order and all we have to do before bed is the dinner dishes!
59. My daughters are almost old enough to take showers by themselves but still need help making sure their hair is completely rinsed. So I clean my bathroom while they bathe, so I can be handy when they need my help. This would work for moms with preschoolers too, who have to be in the bathroom to monitor they’re children, but can clean while their kids splash in the tub for ten minutes. It works for me! – flying in Kansas
Shoes, clothes and bed check! Are you sitting at the computer dressed to shoes? Or are you in the warm bathrobe and fuzzy pink slippers? Time to restart the day. Set your timer for 10 minutes. How fast can you get dressed to shoes? While you are back in the bedroom, quick check the bed. Is it made? See how fast you can make it. I bet you can do it in less than 3 minutes! Go Go Go! Let me know what you find. Send an email to FlyCrew@flylady.net and put “I did it bed” in the subject line.
60. I taped the list of “detailed cleaning routine” in each room…now me, and the kids have no excuses for “forgetting” what to do in this room!
61. Dear FlyLady, I started with you on October 23rd. I will always remember that day because it’s my ‘flybirthday’ … it marks the beginning of becoming a flybaby. I would just like to share with you how flying has been passed on to my youngest son in baby steps. Our home has really taken shape over these last few months and moreso my attitude toward life has changed. I didn’t, however, feel that I could push you on to my family. I did explain about the kitchen sink and my husband just loves you – but I told him that it would take some time for me to feel comfortable enough in my routines to ask the children to join in with this. I thought it was more important to have my routines established and lead by example. And it was working. However, each morning with my youngest would be a continual hour or so of questions and reminders: “Where are your shoes?” “Did you brush your teeth?” “Please comb your hair.” “Did you use deodorant?” (yes he needs it) “Where are your glasses?” Sometimes I would repeat some of these over and over again. And one morning … it clicked. With me. I was being such a nag. He needed a morning routine and I was repeating it over and over again to him. I picked up a post-it note pad and wrote these things: hair, teeth, glasses, anti-perspirant, shoes. I put it on the mirror in the bathroom and called my dear sweet son in. First I apologized for getting out-of-control on so many mornings. Then I told him that I had a morning routine that helped me get ready and shared with him some of those things. Next I showed him the post-it note. I told him that these are the things that he needed to get done in the morning that seemed to be the things that he needed to be reminded about. All he needed to do was check his list to see if he’d done them. Well … I know you know what happened! He took to it like a fly to …. (he he). He has his five item ‘routine’ and he gets all of those things done each morning without me having to remind him of any of them. Sometimes, I might say … have you checked your ‘list’? But that’s about it. But the experience that brought it home for me happened one afternoon when we were out running errands. We had stopped for one last item and I let him stay in the car and wait for me. When I came out he had a little recorder that I keep in the car and he said, “Mom, listen to this!” He pushed record and this is what I heard: “8:30. Get out my jammies. Brush my teeth. Put my glasses in my case. Turn the ‘Odyssey’ on. Turn the fan on. Turn off the lights and get in bed.” He created his own before bed routine …. all by himself …. after only three weeks with his morning routine. I was in purple puddles and had to tell him that these were ‘happy tears’. Thank you Fly Lady for all you do … for your gentle reminders … for teaching me to finally love myself and to extend that love to my family. Diana flybaby in Lakewood, CO
62. I have been FLYing all over this house since January! It’s been in baby steps, but I’m seeing progress. At first, my children (7 and 10) were not quite as excited as I was. “Oh no! Someone else to tell us to clean!” (Saturday morning cleaning their rooms had become a nightmare.) I was so excited and encouraged by your words of wisdom, I was eager to share it with my family! I noticed that the children were at least intrigued with the messages you were sending me and the missions I was accepting (these are my favorites!!). So…I had an idea. I explained to my children that I was going to give them a 5 minute mission each day after school, and I PROMISED them that within a couple of weeks, it would greatly reduce their cleaning time on Saturday morning. They were in, especially when I told them I would e-mail it to them – like FLYLADY e-mails me my missions! This has been the greatest success story! And my promise has proved true. I can not believe how quickly and cheerfully Saturday morning cleaning goes. It’s really just a quick check and tidying of their rooms. WOW!! Thanks, FLYLADY!!
63. We only have a small closet for our coats and shoes. At first the closet was overflowing until the door came off. I decided that the closet was only for Mommy. I put a shoe rack into it and lined up all my shoes nicely. I hung up all of my coats on the bar. I got coat racks (the kind with pegs) for the wall and bought four small rubbermaid containers. Now each child has a hook and a bucket for all of there outside things. There is generally no more mess and I can close the closet. Sometimes the kids get a little sloppy or they put toys into their buckets so we do a little Hot Spot drill. Works for me. Flybaby in Vancouver
64. I was blessed with three girls. Whenever we traveled there always was the argument of who got dibs on the front seat. My solution to that was to have a new co-pilot on the first of every month…and you got the front seat in your birthday month…co-pilots job was map reading on long trips, radio control, gas pumper and window shield cleaner at pit stops, paying the bill at quick stops and holding the cake on the way to grandmas house…this taught them many valuable lessons in life that they use now that they are grown… I started this when my girls were just starting school and it worked until they left home. – Flybaby from Michigan
65. My children used to think this Flylady was a wicked woman making mommy throw away all their toys. Now, after one year of doing the 27 fling boogie with me (sometimes called the fling boobie by our 4 year old), they have learned to be prepared and help me do it! We fling anything that is needing a better home. The items that go, have to be in good condition and then we donate them to places that GIVE the items to other children whose families cannot afford to buy them. Items that need to be thrown out and can not be parted with, by my children, I fling when they are not around. Two tricks:
- ALWAYS use black garbage bags (they see through the white ones)
- ALWAYS remove the batteries (they hear the toys making noise as we drive them to the donation station)!Happy FLYing with my 2 DD’s! In Lynden, WA
66. Hi ~ I found a great book – “Kids are worth it!” by Barbara Coloroso. It talks about responsibility with rules and consequences, according to the age of the child. We began applying some of the suggestions when our daughter was about 14. What we did was stop trying to control her & allowing her, within reason and with the rules in place, to make some of her own decisions. She responded so well. She’s almost 18 now and we had a wonderful compliment from her. She hopes we’ll live long enough to be around when she has her children so we can help with our knowledge and advice, as she’s very happy with the way she is. (I wonder what the DH or partner will think of that!)We also had a couple of excellent friends and mentors who helped a lot at that time as well. I wasn’t afraid to change my mind about something I’d said ‘no’ to, if new information and reasoned advice came to me. I didn’t feel that this was losing my authority. I guess you can only lose your authority if you’re authoritative, which I decided not to be.We also spend a lot of time talking to her about all sorts of things and being silly and laughing heaps. I’m sure there will be things she hasn’t told us, and that’s fine. We have a great relationship with her and she enjoys spending time with us and, of course, we enjoy her company. I could go on … lol. Another thing we did was to isolate the behaviour from the person as she was growing up. We’d say that what she did was naughty, it wasn’t that she was naughty, so her self-esteem was intact. We also praised her for being good.
67. I’m (WAS-I have relaxed on being Perfectionist) a Fly SHE all the way! My routine for my children includes a “chore board-spin wheel”. I made this and it has worked WONDERS! My kids (twin 5 year olds-DS & DD) BEG me to clean! My new DH can’t believe it! (It has also worked on his 3 children (4, 7 & 12) who HATE to do ANYTHING)I drew a circle and then separated like a Pie Chart. I put in: Dust, laundry, vacuum, make dinner, feed critters (cat & guinea pig), make beds, pick up and dishes. I used a thumb tack and paperclip and posted on cork board on my fridge. Every evening when we get home, they rush to put away their things from the day from school and rush to the fridge. First one there gets to spin first. They take turns and we set our microwave timer for 5 minutes. (it beeps loud enough to be hear any where in the house!) We all scatter after someone spins & try to beat the timer. We then take turns spinning until everything is done (usually not more then 1/2 hour!) What a GREAT helper this has been. When we are done we watch a video they pick or play a game or cuddle with a book. Since I just bought a new house 3 weeks ago (and moved FLY style) we are already situated, unpacked & put away. This was a LARGE “to do” since my new DH and I now have 5 children on the weekends and went from single to family; from mobile homes to HOME. It is GREAT & we couldn’t have done it with out the FLY CREW. Thank you and I hope this helps some one else as others have helped me. You have blessed me to find my Family & Home under all that clutter! Flying in Michigan
68. The thing that has helped me the most with my children is remembering “house work done incorrectly still blesses your family.” I now give the kids jobs I would have done myself because they wouldn’t do them correctly. Do they do it as well as I would? No, but I can accept that and be grateful for their contribution. When my 6 year old mops the kitchen floor it always looks better than when he started and best of all I did not have to do it. Thanks again. Flybaby in Wisconsin
69. Place a laundry basket by the door that you use to go to your car. Whenever you come across something that needs to go to school with the kids in the am, throw it in that basket. Backpacks, hats, special projects, library books…..whatever. When you leave, the basket should be empty. If it’s not, somebody left something at home. When they exit the car, whether it’s my kids or someone else’s, they are required to stop and look around: what are they leaving in the car? Juice boxes? shoes? Games? Library books? Each kid is to get his own stuff and process it–meaning put it where it belongs, not dump it on the nearest flat surface to the door.
70. I heard a speaker once say that when she had a foster child in her home she taught the girl the specific steps to setting a table – where to place the silverware, the glass, the napkins, every detail. She assumed the girl knew nothing and started from the beginning. Before long the foster child was very good at setting the table correctly. The speaker said she had never done this with her own children and wondered why they weren’t very good at setting the table. She “assumed” they already knew how. She learned that children need to be taught each basic step to performing various tasks, they need a chance to practice, and they will do fine. I have tried doing this to teach my school-age child to cook. She likes pizza and wanted to learn to make it. We wrote down every step and all the ingredients on a recipe card that says “Micaela’s Special Pizza.” We went through the card together and let her practice several times. Now when she wants pizza for dinner she can do it on her own, and she does a great job. It helps me too, because dinner is done! Little by little we will include other recipes, and she will be learning to cook. Utah Flybaby
Time for another Surprise? Do you know what is for supper? Quick go check the freezer, pantry, and fridge and decide what is for supper. Write it down on your calender. Let me know what you decide. Send an email to FlyCrew@flylady.net and put “I did it supper” in the subject line.
71. I am a working mother with an almost 7 year old dd and a dh at home. I bought a laundry sorter which has three bags, colour coded for darks, whites and in-betweenees. I almost always remember to put the days clothes into the baskets, my dh is struggling with it, but my dd is just away and “flying” with it, her room is spotless (thanks to a massive declutter beforehand).Today my dd and I (dh in the garden, cutting the grass and lopping the trees), have just finished de-cluttering her “playroom” (better known as the junk room). We have cleared out a total of SEVEN bags of rubbish and FIVE bags to recycle in the second-had shops (almost 7 years of toys and gifts – some of them still unopened presents – that seemed to go AWOL after birthdays and christmas). We love the space that is left and we have been going in and out all day and admiring it.We still have a long way to go, but EVERYDAY the house is getting closer to being a home we can all enjoy Fly-family in England
72. Hi all! I have one son, age 7, who is attending private school for kids with learning differences. I work 45 hours per week at the school to pay the tuition. In order to keep meal preparation hassle-free at the end of a long day, I used a tip I found on flylady.net. On my computer, I made up a calendar of all the meals I like to make. Then I made up grocery lists for each two week period that corresponds to the calendar. (Microsoft Word has templates already prepared for grocery lists.) That way, I don’t have to think about the ingredients when I make the grocery list. I just have to add miscellaneous things like “toothpaste” or “trash bags.” Each payday, I take the grocery list for the next two weeks to the store. Then I have almost everything I need. Those emergency trips to the store to get ingredients for a last minute meal are kept to a minimum! It is rare that I have to run by the grocery store on the way home from work because I usually have everything I need. On Sunday afternoons, I pre-cook ingredients for the next week’s meals — brown hamburger meat, boil and dice chicken. I also assemble things like “1 cup cheese for enchiladas” and put them in a baggie. This system only took an hour to devise but has saved me so much in time and frustration. Hope it helps someone else!
73. I yelled a lot and got ignored… I felt completely out of control. Our lives were continous power struggles, nagging, and hurt feelings! My kids were rude computer/video game junkies who carelessly made messes and refused to help. Finally I stopped whining and became a real parent! Now things are better. My children are learning that there are consequences to their choices. Each child has a chart — a red star is given when a rule is broken after a warning. A blue or green star means Good Job!, an acknowledgement of good behavior. A gold star is WOW!, a thank you for help or outstanding behavior. Get a gold star or fill up a row on the chart and you get to pick from the treat box (filled with tiny toys, treats, poker chips and coins); fill up the chart and pick from the Extra Special Treats! I keep an eye out for bargains and clearance items. It is amazing what good behavior a tiny toy dinosaur or two Hershey Kisses can elicit! I also have put in “No Piano Practice”, etc coupons. “What about the poker chips?” you ask? If you want to play a video/computer game for an hour at our house, you need chips (one for an educational game, other games need two). BTW, if there is a red star on the chart, video/PC games are FORBIDDEN! My son is able to behave in a store now, without any rewards! My children are learning that courteous and honorable behavior is enjoyable, and being helpful brings joy to everyone. There is no more name calling, and we do indeed keep our hands to ourselves. Best of all, these children are happier with set rules they understand and a much more relaxed mom!
74. Dear FlyLady and Kelly, I so enjoyed your visit to Tiffin Ohio! The prospect of teaching children to FLY is thrilling – isn’t that what our lives are about as mothers?Kids are just like adults: they like to know what is expected of them. If they know that and that there are no excuses (No Whining!!) then they will very happily do exactly what you expect. That’s the problem. They do EXACTLY what you expect. If you say to yourself that Little Suzy can’t do such and such – guess what? Little Suzy won’t get it done! I am a payroll FlyBaby. I have always been easily distracted – and easily amused!! Since I was a little girl, my mother accused me of being just like her mother DISORGANISED. I love FlyLady and I’m learning a lot, but I was already a lot better than when I was first married. For self-survival I had to learn. I need lists! I’ve got to have a game plan. It doesn’t come naturally. There’s always too much to do and I never know where to start, (or what to start or when to start). I raised two sets of kids five years apart. Boy did I do a better job on the second group LOL Some of the things I learned.Don’t take it personal!! You are their parent not their friend. You’ve got a job to do and yes part of that job is playing with them, but none of it is accepting their excuses. No Whining! Only happy faces are allowed in the public part of the house. My only rule for bickering is “No blood on my carpets – so take it outside.” I don’t moderate their fights, they need to learn their own methods of negotiation – clinging to my skirt won’t work in a boardroom – it won’t work in my house either. Since fighting doesn’t give them attention it doesn’t happen as often. Lists are great. For our weekly house blessing I write their chores out as a list (kept on the computer and updated as my whims take me) and they get to choose back and forth what jobs they want to do. The jobs are very specific i.e. put the video games away and vacuum the basement floor as separate jobs, not a generic clean the basement. I give the list to them on Thursday evening and they have to be finished either before noon on Saturday or before they can go to a friend’s house or have someone over. Giving it to them Thursday keeps panic and rushing down to minimum.
75. Have them participate in what you are doing. My daughter loves to help with coupons. She can sort them, get rid of the expired ones and monitor their use while we’re shopping. – Oh BTW unless there’s no way around it I never take more than one child with me to the grocery store. I once walked off with an elderly gentleman’s cart because the two kids with me had me so confused and distracted LOL.
76. BTW there is no TV on the main floor in my house and no TV in the children’s bedrooms. One of the main things I looked for when buying this house was a basement for the TV to live in. I am way too easily distracted to have TV where I can walk by it and have it grab my attention – I’d never get anything done!!
77. But the most important thing of all is to Laugh!!! Have fun. Have fun with your kids. Let them see you having fun without them. Let them know that laughter and fun are a normal part of life that they should expect as an adult. Then give them the skills so they will have joy in their lives as adults.
78. We have the hardest job in the world – to raise happy, healthy, successful and responsible adults. What a joy to see your efforts pay off and to realize that you like your kids! FlyBaby in Ohio
79. My boys are 7 and 11, and are both ADHD. Routine, routine, routine. Make things as simple to understand as possible, and have them do things one step at a time. Don’t forget routine. A check list is great, because they know exactly what to do. It helps with their routine. Anything to cut down on morning craziness is good, so we always get out clothes the night before, and pack backpacks to put by the door. Did I mention routine? Timers are helpful, as it gives them a definite time limit, so they don’t have to worry about how long it’s taking and helps keep them focus. Any disruption in routine can cause problems. So for ADHDers especially, it boils down to this. Simple step tasks on a check list, timers, and routine, routine, routine. Flying with my kids in Mass
80. Last year I sat down with each of our 3 darlings, who were 6, 8, and 12 at the time, and also with my darling step son, then 11, and helped them break their rooms down into 5 zones, and make a small (3 – 5 pages) control journal. It lists each zone;bed, dresser & closet, floor, desk, toy bins &/ book shelves. They have been well drilled(trained) on getting rid of toys/clothes they no-longer love, and for my mad scientist who loves to hoard everything that comes his way for projects I occasionally hand him a grocery bag or 2 (depending on how bad his room has gotten) and challenge him to fill it with trash in 15 minutes. They have complete control over their rooms and for the most part keep them clean. They also have morning and evening routines to follow, for any all school work, computer time, playstation, gameboy they use my timer. We are seourisly considering getting them their own timers, since I get tired of having to track it down when I want to use it. Our darling teen daughter, has learned how to let go of clothing that she does not love without guilt, this was very hard for her to do at first, especially as some of the clothes where from my teen years, so now her closet only holds clothes that she loves, on a recent shopping trip she saw a top she wanted, I know for fact that she has plenty of tops, so I asked her what shirt was she willing to get rid of so that she could get it, the top stayed at the store. She also is responsible for saving anything she wants saved for her future kids in her room, so far all she is saving is one dress.Part of our darlings morning routine is to take their dirty laundry out to the laundry area and sort into the appropriate bins (which out of defense of the frequent which bin is which question are labeled). Then as I sort and fold laundry I pull out anything that needs mending or has been out grown. This way they always have clean clothes that fit and look nice. They are in charge of putting away their clean clothes and sorting and folding their own socks and underwear. This is part of their before bedtime routines. In defense of my sanity when faced with a mountain of white socks about 2 or 3 years ago before I found Flylady I started labeling the bottoms of socks with permanent marker, this has eliminated most of our mismatched sock problems or wrong size problems. And thanks to a testimonial from another flybaby, we have a hot box out in the garage, now instead of getting upset about stuff left out, if I remember to do room rescues (family room & living room) before I go to bed or during the day, instead of getting mad at our darlings I just toss stuff in the hot box. They all know including dh that about once a month hot box items get tossed or given to charity. Our older 2 are getting fairly good about keeping stuff put up. And my dh and myself grumble less at our darlings. I have more but I think this is long enough as is, slowly but surely as a family and unschoolers we are flying, thank you for being there. Love – N – Peace, a CA flybaby
81. I am a baby FLYer. I have been reading your emails for less than a week. I am not quite BO, but much less of a perfectionist than most of what I’ve read. I have noticed a lowering of stress with a cleaner and neater house already!! I was guilty of going into “Cleaning Frenzies” (by husbands term) when the mess finally got to me. Everyone in the house HAD to suddenly drop everything and clean with me or incur my wrath!! It was not pretty. I usually frenzied my son (now 7) into tears. I have been smiling while at work knowing that I will come home to a shiny sink and uncluttered house. Just so you know, your advice fits all personality types. I love getting all your emails. I have been telling everyone about you. I have a suggestion for a stress relieving routine for moms who car pool with school age kids. My friend and I were discussing the fact that she can arrive at the carpool line in a good mood. She is so happy to see her children cheerfully run toward the car, but as soon as they climb in, her mood plummets as they begin arguing, complaining and making demands. Here are my suggestions:1. Give the oldest a pad of paper and a pencil to s/he write down all “needs” for the next day before they are forgotten. (if no one is old enough to write, a small tape recorder could be used)
- Poor grades are not discussed while Mom is driving, they wait until mom can give them her undivided attention at home. Good Grades can be celebrated all the way home.
- NO WHINING. For every negative thing said, the speaker must think of 3 positive things to say. (Mom can model this herself)
And now, the best for last. A surprise pampering mission written by Kelly, our very own Pamper Queen!
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