edubya

Show us your best kid hack!

Emily H
3 years ago


Windgate Ranch · More Info

In the course of living with children and / or teens, have you discovered something you can change about your home that makes life easier for everyone involved? Do you have a cool way to get kids to make their beds or do their own laundry? A specific way to set up a study space that works wonders?

Share your experience! (photos encouraged)


Comments (37)

  • Lisa Williams
    3 years ago

    When raising 4 kids, I taught them each to do their own laundry from about the age of 8 or so. Each child had 2 laundry baskets in their closet, one for whites, one for colors. So laundry was pre-sorted. Then each child was assigned a day of the week that they had full rights to the laundry room. With the younger ones, I helped or supervised as needed.

    And if they earned the privilege of a cell phone, I took them all at bed time each night, plugged them in so everyone had a fully charged battery each morning. This also prevented night time texting/games. And it was my time to see what they were doing on their phones -- if you don't know what's on their phones, you don't know what's going on with your kids, IMHO! Later in high school, they got to keep them in their rooms at night. (But you can look at your online bill to see their use...)

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  • Lilly Hi
    3 years ago

    When getting a dollhouse but not wanting it to take up much room do this.

    Get one of those IKEA shelfs that have four shelfs.

    Then on the top 2 shelfs make it a bookshelf.

    On the bottom 2 shelfs get baskets that fit in the shelfs. In one put things for the dollhouse and in the other put barbies and barbies.

    Then put the dollhouse on top of the shelfs.

  • Erika C
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    We have a two-year old who is spoiled by everyone on both sides of the family so we have toys everywhere! We have them upstairs, downstairs, in the yard, garage, and basement. Rather than have preschool looking storage in primary colors that she will outgrow, I chose a variety of baskets to corral the mess. When she is older and doesn't have lots of toys all over the house I can use the baskets for other things. Here are two of them that are currently in use in the living room. I have baskets from very small to very large that I use in every room and closet of the house. It makes it more attractive to store things as well as easier to grab them off the shelf and put them back without making a mess.

  • skmom
    3 years ago
    I had 5 kids in a 4.5 year time period... when they were still young I found myself overwhelmed with toys. I decided to institute a strict toy rotation system. After purging their toys I then proceeded to put the remaining toys into 4 different piles. In each pile I made sure to put items both my girls and boys would enjoy playing with, but I only kept 4 really "messy" toys. The messy toys were items with a LOT of parts and pieces that could get scattered easily. I put only 1 messy toy in each pile. Then I boxed up 3 of the piles into large Rubbermaid style containers with lids and stacked them in the guest room closet.

    Every week or two I would rotate which pile of toys was allowed out of that closet. At first I wondered if their creativity would be hampered because I refused to let them mix toys from the different piles, but I had made sure there was a good mix of toys everyone liked in each pile. Much to my amazement and relief I discovered that my kiddos became much more creative and they really enjoyed playing with their toys more. Also, clean up time was SUPER easy... they were no longer overwhelmed with the amount of toys left out and available! We had some wire shelves in the playroom and plastic baskets on those shelves... you could dump out every toy in the playroom and still they could easily manage getting everything off the floor and into baskets within a 10 minute timeframe. They didn't dread cleanup time anymore because it was so easy! Every time I rotated the toys I checked for trash or broken toys that might've made its way into the playroom.

    I did keep art supplies, puzzles, a few educational toys, and stuffed animals in a separate system. Art supplies and puzzles were done according to a daily schedule, and clean up time was built into that schedule. Those educational toys remained available at all times and was not subject to the rotation. Stuffed animals were in a separate rotation that was more like a library system and I allowed 2-3 stuffed animals out per child, they had to trade animals if they wanted to change them out. This toy rotation system worked amazingly well for many years for our family... pretty much until they got too old for toys and started getting into hobbies. It was probably the best system I ever instituted, it helped my children develop their creativity with fewer choices bombarding them, it helped them learn to cleanup their messes without always being overwhelmed, and it helped keep our home a more relaxing and beautiful place to grow up in.
  • Kathi Steele
    3 years ago

    To help them separate then be able to do the laundry.

    Laundry room · More Info

    Laundry room · More Info

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    Anthony Perez
    3 years ago

    hooks hooks and more hooks

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    Anthony Perez
    3 years ago

    hooks and shelves

  • Hollie
    3 years ago
    School shirts and bottoms are folded so they can all be viewed but play clothes get tossed unfolded into 3 bins in the closet.

    We hang a over the door shoe holder on the shower rack for all their stuff.

    Stuffed animals go in those corner nets up and out of the way.

    But this is the entrance to my home right now so clearly we have work to do!
  • hsmeghan
    3 years ago

    Completely agree with the laundry comment -- my kids have done their own since they were 10. Getting a front loading washer helped with this because small children can't reach into the top loading type very well.

    When my kids were young my mil would go crazy at Christmastime. Two vanloads of gifts, and our house was small and their rooms filled up with stuff to the point you couldn't even move in them. Solution: had Grandma come over to help clean bedrooms. As she literally waded through the clutter, she realized it was all stuff she had given them that they couldn't or weren't using mostly because there was so much clutter they couldn't organize anything or find stuff! Christmases got much smaller after that and less overwhelming for all of us.

    My biggest "hack" if you want to call it that is that we began homeschooling our kids, the boys just for high school and my daughter all the way through. We moved twice during her schooling and had so many books by the end of it that it was crazy. They are still mostly in boxes, now waiting to be sold because we're all done.

    Homeschooling is best for kids because you can tailor their learning styles and interests into your curriculum and even your decorating. I recommend reading The Way They Learn by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias when you are considering designing study spaces because every child is different. Some kids really can't work effectively at desks -- many learn and work better on the floor or in a comfortable chair or even moving around and doing jumping jacks. You have to figure out what will work best for your child first or your lovely design and expense could all be wasted. The picture of the study area for this article NEVER would have worked for my kids. That book helped me so much when my younger son with ADD came home for high school. Then with my daughter, I had to think outside my box and let her have music going while studying -- never thought that would work, it wouldn't for me (I need total quiet) but for her it really does. I bought her a small desk but she's almost never used that for school and it mostly just collects clutter in her room now.

    We read so many books together cuddled up on the couch, which worked great with her auditory learning style, and did workbook stuff at the kitchen table which she kept organized in a box she labeled "The Box of Knowledge." We had no other places to do school in our small house and apartment and even here in the larger house that we bought. I can tell you if you homeschool your house is probably going to be a mess all the time, but that's because you are living in it every day and using the spaces. This is especially true if a space has to multitask like the kitchen table. I let my daughter decorate her room here in the house we bought and I was amazed at her creative use of shelving, etc. Let your children use their creativity to figure out what will work best for them even if you would do something totally different.

  • skmom
    3 years ago
    Hsmeghan, that book was very helpful to me as well! We've been homeschooling for 14 years now, and the first handful of years I kept trying to make an extra bedroom work as a dedicated homeschool room. The people in my life who were skeptical about homeschooling were the ones that were most happy I had a homeschool room, but finally I realized that we just weren't using it. I turned it into a dedicated Lego room for my kids, it was a MUCH better use of space, LOL!
  • rachelsmdai
    3 years ago

    The hack in our house saved us from completely losing it. This hack was used in preschool and the early grades. By grade 5 we didn't need it anymore.

    Every morning trying to get my son up for school was dreadful, even after a good night's sleep. He was a morning "languisher" who woke up as the day went on. We had fights and tears about getting up, rushed breakfasts, and once he went to preschool in his pjs.

    The solution: go to bed wearing your school clothes. The fact that he preferred "cozy clothes" (sweat pants) and jerseys meant that wrinkled clothes weren't an issue. So at night he'd have his bath and put on his clothes for the next day. In the morning he'd just have to wash his hands and face, brush his teeth, an put on his sneakers. He'd be ready for breakfast and the school bus without fail.

    This process kept both of us sane. And now he's grown up and gets up really early weekday and weekend. Go figure.

  • Margaret Manneschmidt
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    I'm a mom of 6, mostly all grown up now. I read somewhere to put
    Sharpie marker dots on the laundry to aid in sorting. Child #1 had 1 dot
    on all his clothes (on an inside label or inside the back of the neck
    or on waistband if it had no label). Child #2 had 2 dots, etc. When the
    clothes got passed down, another dot was added. This helped us get
    young children helping sort and fold. They were all taught early to do
    their own laundry, so I really didn't have that much laundry to do
    myself. I taught them all to fry eggs, make cheese toast, & cut up
    fruit from about age seven.

    We also did a simple version of the
    toy swap that skmom wrote about. My kids also loved it and would start
    asking me, "When is toy swap time?" a few days before the next one. I
    only had the toys in two groups, & we would keep the current group
    out a month or more. I am so glad I got mine raised before technology issues
    were so huge.

    A helpful decision was for me to grocery shop alone
    without kids in tow. I would go once a month very early in the morning
    & buy two grocery carts full while they were still asleep before my
    husband went to work. They helped sort it when I got it home, but I had
    no nagging voices wanting this & that and no worries about toddlers potentially falling out of shopping carts, which reduced my stress. I am
    not a morning person, so this was a personal sacrifice to do, but much
    worth it. There were still occasional shopping trips with kids, but the
    much smaller in the store and out quick variety.

  • hsmeghan
    3 years ago

    skmom, I used to wish I had a dedicated homeschool room. Some of the moms in my homeschool group had them and I was always jealous. I think now that if I'd had one, it probably would have had a couch, table and chairs in it, just like the living room and kitchen, and the only bonus would have been I could have stored all our books in it and put maps up -- but I did that in the other rooms anyway. What I found was that the more like traditional school I tried to make anything, the less successful it was with my daughter.

    rachelsmdai, I can SO relate to this problem. Getting my younger son up and out the door or to do his homeschooling in high school was just about the most frustrating thing for me as a mom ever. I really think this son is the master of passive aggressiveness. The more you told him to do something, the more he dug in his heels and tried to gain control. I'm glad you found a solution that worked for you. I never did!

    Margaret M, grocery shopping in the very early morning is probably the best time to go to the store. It must have been your quiet alone time! I have escaped to the store many times just to get some alone time. One evening after a particularly difficult day, I even ran away from home -- as I drove down the road alone to pick up Pull-Ups for my preschool aged daughter, who was out and crying and panicking about it, I said, "That's IT!!! I've had it!!! I'm never going back home!" Then I found a great sale and felt much better, and of course I returned -- but we still joke around about how Mom ran away from home for 45 minutes! LOL!

  • skmom
    3 years ago
    Yeah, traditional school methods didn't end up working with the majority of my crew. 4 of my 5 kids are moderately to severely dyslexic, so my original homeschooling visions and ideals went out the window when we discovered that. LOL! For us, school has mostly happened in the family room, on the couch, at the kitchen table, each child separated into different rooms sitting on beds, sprawled out on the floor, taking turns at the computer desk for math, or even outside sometimes. (Though being outside was usually too "shiny" for my dyslexics to do any written work.)
    Now... the Lego room we had was pretty awesome. I wish I had a picture of it, but we have since moved and our kiddos are old enough that they now prefer to display them instead of actually constantly playing with them.
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    Anthony Perez
    3 years ago

    you can't never have too many shelves, also double duty/ 2 level moveable work tables are a must

  • Kristina
    3 years ago

    Margaret Manneschmidt, I'm a mom of 5, all grown, and did the same thing with hand-me-downs, except my marks were lines. When they were little, they each had their own little basket for things that went in drawers and they were expected to check each day after school, take care of any clean clothes they had, and return the basket and any empty hangars to the laundry room before going to play. I also had a triple hamper where they learned at a young age to sort their clothes when they emptied the small hampers they had in their closets. I started teaching them to do laundry at about the age of 10. They were tall enough then to reach the washer and all its controls. By the time they were 12 or 13 they did their own but I was still willing to add a few of their things to my own loads with at least a 24 hour notice if they needed something for a particular day. Scheduling wasn't too much of a problem. I only worked part time for just a few of their growing up years so I did mine and the younger kids' during the weekdays and the older kids would do it after school and on weekends. When we were able to build our own home, I designed the floor plan so I had 2 laundry rooms, one on the main level which I and my older daughter who was in the single bedroom upstairs used and one in the basement where the other 4 bedrooms are. Not sure how we managed it but the only scheduling problems or complaints we got were when the younger daughter would put her load in and leave. I only got a couple of complaints before everyone else figured out all they had to do was put her load in her basket for her to take care of when she got home, and the dryer became available. Bedmaking wasn't nearly so successful. I just told my kids to keep their doors closed and when we had a bit more money and were able to build a house large enough for each to have their own room, the neat ones were much happier not having to share with the messy ones. (For my neat husband and not-so-neat me, we included separate closets and bathroom counters.)

    Toys weren't too much of a problem, but we did have to be organized. We were poor when they were little so they didn't have a lot. They usually kept their stuffed animals on their beds and shelves worked better for other toys than a toy box they'd have to empty to find what they wanted. They had plastic boxes for most sets such as Barbie clothes and accessories, Legos, and other building sets. When they got older and were more interested in the more complicated sets (think Millenium Falcon), the box lids were cut out to have the picture available and kept in the plastic box with the pieces before it was built. Those were then left put together and proudly displayed in their bedrooms while the instructions and picture were put into a ziplock bag which was then put into a small binder. The binder idea came because I'd already done the same thing with jigsaw puzzles. I'm not sure what happened to the Lego binder but the puzzles are now in with the toys I've kept for the grandchildren. Outdoor toys and sports items were kept in bins in the garage or out on the patio. When we built our home, we put in plenty of storage cabinets in the garage for those items and had room for a bike rack in the large garage so had a spot for all of those.

    Once the internet became vital for studying, as well as a source for things we'd rather our children not see, we kept all computer use in a common areas rather than in bedrooms. We also found that the younger ones were better at staying on task at the kitchen table than in their own rooms with toys to distract them. They also had desks in their rooms which they used to keep their own school and study items organized but most studying was done at the kitchen table at first. We did add a smaller dining table in our home office when it became clear that a couple of the kids did better with fewer of the distractions of a busy kitchen. That way they could be close where they could get help if needed but the computer on the desk was open to anyone who needed to do research or type up a report.


  • vbendau
    3 years ago

    We had a loose-cushioned pull-out sleeper couch in the family 'rumpus room.' One time the dog ate a hole right in the middle of one of the cushions, but we were able to just flip the cushion and keep using the couch! Easy and cheap!

  • eve_62025
    3 years ago

    I bought oil-drip pans for $10 each from my local automotive store and use them ad magnet boards for my kids artwork, school papers, spelling lists, etc. My hubby just drilled them into the drywall with anchors. (Boards are on the left side of pic.)


    My kids are in charge of managing their own board and either pitching things when it gets too full or putting older items in their keep drawer in the closet.

  • njshirley
    3 years ago

    I got tired of tripping over everyone's shoes upon entering and even the three year old puts his away in his box!

  • Amy Walsh
    3 years ago
    Kathi Steele - where did you get those under counter baskets in the laundry room? Looking for those exactly.
  • Kathi Steele
    3 years ago

    Lowes, I think. But I have had them for more than 20 years!!! Got them the first year in our house.....1992!!!

  • lbelle5
    3 years ago
    Decorate everything in "distressed" decor or patterns so they don't show wear and tear or old spills and dirt. My floors were brown shades, carpets with multi colors in them. Furniture was tough fabrics with pattern , even if tone on tone for a solid look.
    Cabinetry and furniture had texture ...distressed , glazed, . Grout was in grays or tans. Mudrooms located where you all come in is essential...and if washer and dryer is there to toss in dirty clothing before bringing it into the house....all the better.
    So, I guess, my hacks are more to cover up wear and tear more than prevent it...but, then again, we are talking kids.
  • eve_62025
    3 years ago

    Yes! I agree distressed finishes are geeat with kids. Our floors are a weathered wood look which shows no scratches or dirt!!! Love it!

  • Amy Dingler
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    I've got 4. Sox all go in a zip up delicates bag to keep them from getting lost in other clothes during the wash. Sounds silly, but it has really reduced our lone sock problem. They each have a bag hung on the back of their BR door for sox and underpants, and when they are full, they throw them in the hamper. After the dryer, each kid just gets his bag back and rolls his/her socks together him/herself. This also pretty much prevents mixed up sox and underwear.

  • Laura Fredricks
    3 years ago

    Having little kids do laundry and spying on your kids and affording them no trust? Or privacy? Children model their parents' behavior so why distrust your kids so aggressively? My philosophy: trust your kids unless you have a good reason not to: especially if you are home all or most days. Chores? Totally disapprove for school age kids especially. My philosophy: going to school is essentially a full-time job! My kids leave at 7:30 and gone home between 4:00 and 6:00 pm. Then 3-4 hours of homework per night. I'm the Mom: my purpose is to be there for my kids, to advocate on their behalf, if needed...and to allow them to know that school is their "work," priority. If you need your kids to do your own "work" I suggest hiring someone instead of using free labor. Kids can learn how to vacuum and do laundry when it's time to college. Kids don't have to be slobs and my kids never kept their rooms in uninhabitable condition. It takes me five minutes to straighten their beds. It takes no time for me to throw in a load of wash. If my kids have enough time for a break from school work I want them to have some fun to de-stress. My kids all excelled at school, went to top universities. And they all keep nice neat homes. Instead of stressing over mindless chores, they were free to study and relax and be involved in great activities. No drugs, smoking or "bad" behavior. Don't assume the worst and don't be so quick to judge and assume. You want your kids to feel safe and have unconditional love. It takes self-control not to snoop. Reading your kids' texts is like reading their diaries. That said, I am constantly aware of changing moods and attitudes and I actively encourage my kids to let me know what's up or what's bothering them. Clearly, any parent paying attention can recognize "suspect" behavior or interests before they become issues.

  • Laura Fredricks
    3 years ago

    I kept things sorted by lots of wicker bins that went on shelves. A maximum of two things out at once. E.g. Only Trucks and blocks (or only dolls and dress up.) Then replace bins and switch out. Socks in lingerie bags is a great idea. Thanks for that suggestion. Shoes come off in the entry hall without fail. Floors stay much cleaner. In fact, I have those disposable booties (like those worn in a hospital O.R. ). If I'm feeling brave I will ask a repairman or worker with boots to slip them on to keep the floors clean and scuff-free. No outdoor shoes on carpets, especially if you think about what you step in outside your home. Ziplock bags for pens, crayons, binder clips, Lego pieces, etc.

    School books laid out in dedicated space. I have hard plastic trays (like used in an office to stack ingoing and outgoing mail), preferably color coded. The physics text goes with the purple tray, e.g. And all the study notes, tests and papers for Physics go in the tray. A different color for English, French, Math and so on. This way all school papers can be easily located: no panic before exams.

    I try to get my kids to lay out their clothes the night before but if they don't they know they have to get up at least five minutes earlier to choose their clothes. Organized drawers and closets makes it easy to get dressed in the dark, literally. Same with breakfast. I try to take breakfast choices before bed (cereal, or toasted bagel, hot chocolate, fruit) . If it doesn't happen I put out a small selection on a tray and let them choose. Working moms: I don't know how you do it and then kids definitely have to help more and pay attention to simple things to avoid messes. And kids can clear the table after dinner but if you want your kids to be engaged in their work don't overload them. Nobody likes to wash dishes. Stay at home moms: imo children juggle the truly stressful job of being a student and a kid nowadays while facing angry parents who think they are "spoiling" their kids. Appreciate how hard they work and how going to school is no picnic: academically and even socially. They are already doing tons


  • Lisa Williams
    3 years ago

    Alexandra, to each their own :) We all do what we feel is best for our families...

    I know that my 4 kids were not overworked, they just participated when it was age-appropriate in a few chores. I always worked full-time and all 4 kids played sports. Every fall and every spring season, my then-husband and I worked and got 4 kids to every practice and game. And with that, I washed all uniforms to be sure they were clean and ready for the next game.

    Maybe I made it sound like I was a drill sergeant? I simply had a few rules. My kids had lots of toys, video games, play dates, computers, etc. And I felt I was also teaching them responsibility.

    Also, at the time my oldest 2 got the privilege of text messaging, it was sold by a finite number of texts per month, so I was monitoring their usage (to avoid overage fees) and making sure they followed the rules of texting only within our area code (trying to avoid them giving their number to random people online). I was always watchful (as I believe I should have been) of their internet and cell phone usage.

    I grew up with a mom who is a perfectionist, so I never had chores because they wouldn't be done to her standards. Subsequently, my college roommate had to show me how to do laundry!

  • Kathi Steele
    3 years ago

    Alexandra, I agree with Lisa, to each his own.

    My responsibility as a parent, as I see it, is to help them become productive members of society. I felt like learning how to take care of yourself, your clothes, your room, your house, your car, learning to cook, grocery shop, how to fix a leaky toilet, how to fix a leaky faucet, etc. was my job just as much as anything else.

    My kids never had 3-4 hours of homework a night. They got it done during school as much as possible and then finished it at home.

    But my husband and I also worked, albeit I work part time. And we are responsible for grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc.

    I felt like time management was also a part of growing up. Knowing that you have 40 minutes of chores everyday helps you become part of the real world. Of course, it was "easier" for me to do everything. That is not the point. I did not "need" them to do it because I was lazy or some such nonsense. I had them do it because I felt that was the way for them to become productive members of society.

  • Kristina
    3 years ago

    I'll say a big "AMEN!" to Lisa's and Kathi's statements. My 5 children had chores because that's what you do when you live together. Everyone pitches in. If you dirty it, you clean it. If you eat it, you have a hand in preparing it or cleaning up afterwards. And when they knew they were going to have a turn cleaning the bathroom, the boys' aim was impressive. I was a stay-at-home mom for most of their growing up years but even their father, who typically worked 50-60 hours/week did his share, usually with one or three children working by his side. Our children weren't doing my work and it definitely wasn't "free labor." Not only did we feed and clothe them and put a roof over their heads, but they were given allowances with bonuses for certain behaviors and chores so they had spending money and naturally learned how to budget from the time they were small. As was said, it would have been easier for me to do it all myself, especially when they were younger. But by putting in the effort to teach them when they were young, they were old hands at cooking, cleaning, and budgeting their time as well as money by the time they graduated from high school so no shock to the system when they went to college and really had to take care of themselves.

    I don't know where Alexandra's children went to school but I'm glad we didn't raise our children there. The only time my kids worked on homework for 3-4 hours was when they'd put off a big project that they were supposed to have been working on for several days or weeks. At those times I was usually recruited to help THEM with THEIR work. Their grades didn't suffer because they were vacuuming the floor or washing their own clothes or even working an after-school job, which all but one chose to do when they were in high school. The one who didn't worked extra hard in the summer to have plenty of money for the school year. If their grades had suffered we would have made changes but they were all honor roll students. They also managed to play sports and had plenty of social time with friends. By the time they went to college they were proficient in pretty much everything that adults are expected to be able to do, including basic maintenance on the car(s) we provided for them to use from the time the first one got her license. Some people thought we were spoiling them with that perk but I was very happy to not have to get up to drive kids to early morning practice for their HS swim team.

  • Maria Smith
    3 years ago

    I am the oldest of five, all of us but two are a year apart. We had a chore list on the fridge for dinner preparation and clean-up that rotated daily. Sometimes after dinner, my Dad would play Frank Sinatra and dance with us on the kitchen floor.

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    Sydni
    3 years ago
    I think there is one close to target but I just lovethat
  • hhenkind
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    I have three kids (13 year old daughter and 11 year old twin boys). Doing laundry was starting to get difficult for our sitter because my clothes starting ending up in my daughter's room and, because the twins wear similar clothes but are a slightly different size, everything was being put in separate drawers. I bought labels from Label Daddy and started labeling all their clothes so they all get put away in the correct room and so I am not constantly searching different closets to find my favorite shirts! We originally bought them for camp clothes but now I'm addicted to them and label everything with my kids' names!

    The other "hack" we use is to buy cardboard document boxes to store the kids' school work (special things) and baby teeth and birthday cards they've written over the year. I color code them (pink for my daughter, blue for one boy and orange for the other boy). They have one box for each year in school and that way, I save all their memorabilia but it's organized in case I need to find an old school photo!

  • Christy Brewer
    3 years ago
    We store everyone's socks in the laundry room. I have two teenage girls, so we divide the socks up by athletic, casual, etc. Daddy has his own drawer for his socks. Mismatched socks go in a basket that I toss or sort to find matches periodically. This is a huge time saver and there's no confusion or arguing over who owns what-socks are communal property!
  • lesleyspersonaladdress
    3 years ago

    Alexandra Matlin Lisa Williams Kristina I agree with everyone. I think children, (I have 4 grown) need to be allowed to do their job, to be children. Having said that its also important I teach them how to behave in public and respect other people's belongings. I did that by expecting the same behaviour at home and outside the home. I guess that's my hack.

    My goal was to raise adults that would be able to be self sufficient and independent. My job was to teach them how to iron, cook, speak and listen politely, be aware that clothing, toys, food etc cost money, sew a button and also to plan ahead for activities such as sports, homework, clean clothing or to save their money buy something etc. I never paid them for chores though. We were a family unit and we all pitched in.

    I taught them it is bad manners to keep people waiting, that included me, so they had to turn up for breakfast when I had made it and pick up after themselves so their family didn't trip on their belongings. In return I would let some things slide and do them myself as their days were quite full already.

    I expected basic manners, awareness that they were sharing their space with others and to learn responsible empathy. If they had a pet it was fed and cleaned before they ate. In return they were given lots of space to grow and just be kids. Adulthood and all that entails comes soon enough. :-)

  • Joanne Heidkamp
    3 years ago

    @Rachelsmdai - I forgot until I read your post... we also had several years of my son taking an evening bath, and then putting on the next day's school clothes (sweats and a T-shirt). I think he was the one who proposed it in preschool or Kindergarten and it made mornings so much calmer. I do remember the evening before a special event -- there he was at bedtime putting on a suit and tie! We persuaded him that it wouldn't work.

  • Laura Fredricks
    3 years ago

    Hi all.... Lisa Williams...I apologize if I sounded insensitive. I'm not saying parents are not working too hard. I cannot imagine how hard you guys must have worked to do all you did for your kids: taking four kids to sports, working, chores. It is utterly exhausting. Of course kids need to help out and learn to be responsible. To a point, and at some point. But...the Adults are the adults! My kids all know how to do the laundry: it wasn't an official chore. But they all learned somehow. Survival instinct probably kicked in at college. (Just so you know, I have zero household help and my husband is too ill to help in any meaningful way with "chores" or homework). I do a load of wash every day after my son leaves for school. It's super easy. I rotate cleaning each of the rooms and bathrooms so every part of the house gets cleaned and sparkly before mid-afternoon. I don't understand why we complain about having kids. That's what kids are: a huge responsibility. I don't mind pushing a vacuum cleaner around for one whole hour (maximum) to keep the floors dust free. If I worked of course I would need help. But I don't need help from my kids beyond the learning lessons of decency and respect for themselves and others. Behave appropriately and respectfully. Replace the batteries or the toilet paper. Respect deadlines for school work. No fighting over petty things. We are never especially messy and clothing and toys never piled up. We all work hard. All of us in every family. (That being said, I've never seen an appalling cascade of toys all over the place.)

    Lesley'spersonaladdress says it best. I agree that teaching kids manners and respect is the most important. Kids with respect for themselves, their things, their parents, their siblings are empathic people who will be willing to do the right thing. I think she's right. Timeliness is important: being late...even to the breakfast table, is rude. Taking responsibility for personal property saves time, crying over broken things and thoughtful planning. They always help set up for dinner, but if my son is working on a paper or reading a book I won't let him forgo something much more important to his success than laying out some silverware (again, not rocket science).Respect. Sewing on a button, ironing, setting a table...people aspire to these aspects of life naturally. It never occurs to me that kids need do not take the initiative to earn small things

    Often I'm the one needing reminding to call the orthodontist or fill out a permission slip

    The dog is always fed on time and walked on time. No chores chart and no begging and cajoling. They love the dog. If I see a backpack sitting in the middle of the floor or a pair of shoes are in a path, I ask my kids if that's a smart place to leave stuff. I hear an apology and they try to remember not to let it happen again because someone could get hurt.


  • PRO
    Anthony Perez
    3 years ago

    lesleyspersonaladdress I agree with your way of raising kids, I strive to acomplish the same goals, not always easy or even possible all the time but worth trying