I don't know about you, but the hours between 4:30 and 6:30 are really tough for me. Really tough. Naptime is over, snacks are dealt, and The Dinner Preparation Begins.
I'm feeling a grroannn just thinking about it.
That's because, in my family with 5 littles, it's not that simple. One or more will need a diaper. One will get hurt. Two or more will argue or fight. And they all want to help. In the kitchen. With me. Laugh.
Hey....wait a minute. If someone could actually be of help, well, that would be helpful, right? Right.
I recently discovered that my older children are actually capable of real help. I've been training them since the beginning to do chores. Of course, with little ones, the work they do is usually not helpful at all, to say the least. Now that the oldest are 7, and 6, I'm finding that they and even the 4 year old are able to provide actual help with what they can do. (Yes, that's my 4 year old cutting with (gasp) a real knife. Preparing a salad) It's wonderful! Yes, they are slow. Yes, their work is not high quality. But with good scheduling and lowered expectations, they get good practice at things they need to know how to do, and I get help.
Enter: the Assigned Dinner Helper plan. It's just as it sounds: I have an assigned helper for each day of the week. The older 2 get 2 days each, and the 4 year old gets 1. Twice a week I have no helper; I just don't want one on those days.
The boys are always very excited to help and look forward to their day. They get to wear an apron, ring the dinner bell to call everyone to the table, and be proud of their contribution. And you would be amazed how a child will devour a salad that he has made himself.
Having Assigned Dinner Helpers works for me.
What works for you?
See what works for lots of other moms at WeAreThatFamily.com