During the Summer, I have a few close friends (more like family) that entrust me with the responsibility of watching their kids. My oldest is 12, so she’s basically staff at this point and the others range from 2-10. On a full day (with at least 3 adults present), I’ve had 8 smalls. I’ve gotta tell you, having a classroom of 20 for a few hours in Sunday School is a whole lot different then having that many kids for two meals, two snacks and an entire day.
For anyone who has multiple children during the Summer months, I have found that creating a daily schedule and weekly menu helps tremendously in organizing what could potentially be chaos. All school age children have some sort of Summer Reading or Summer Homework that needs to be done so that should have a designated time. I have also found that listing “snack time” in-between meals prevents you being asked for a snack fifty thousand times. Recess, free time, arts & crafts also help take up some time slots. For my smalls, I’ve had all of them in Sunday School previously, so in my schedule we have a bible lesson also worked in.
For the little ones who can’t read yet or don’t have Summer Homework, I found a bunch of free learning apps on the for my I-Pad which I use with the little ones during this time and I also give the bigger kids reading credit if they choose to read a book to a smaller child. This helps the little ones learn to sit still which may not seem that important but it will be important when they start pre-school. Kids also learn from each other so don’t underestimate the impact of a bigger kid reading to a little one, most of them love it. In the back firing sense, I now have a two-year old goddaughter who tells me “sit” so she can read to me, which is mainly her flipping through the pages at top speed and going to get another book. Could be worse.
I know a lot of people don’t like to allow children to help clean up because they have to re-clean what the kids have cleaned. Honestly, that’s how I felt until I realized how much the kids actually enjoy helping so I try to give them tasks at the end of the day so everyone’s helping. For bigger kids? Give them the steam mop, it’s hard to mess up steam mopping unless of course it’s an 8 year old who decides it’s a weapon, then of course you’ll have to ban them from future steam mopping.It happens. I have also learned Lysol Wipes can be used on electronics and Clorox Wipes can not. So if you’re giving a kid a wipe (make sure it’s a child old enough not to eat the wipe), make sure it’s Lysol if they’re cleaning in a room that contains electronic devices. Also as a side note, don’t let them plug in the vacuum in the same room that an Air Conditioner is on or you’ll be taking a trip to the fuse box.
Rewards are also helpful. Kids love having something to earn or look forward to. I build in recess time because they have it at school and I have found it helpful to follow their regular pattern. I do Popsicle at the end of the day after clean up and I try to do a fun lunch on Friday (i.e. Pizza) if we have good behavior all week. Pizza can be expensive so things I’ve found helpful in that department is the party size pizza which is normally $20 and feeds at least ten people, Little Caesar’s has a $5 large pizza special (I have two kids with a milk allergy, but Little Caesar’s will make a sauce only and you can pay the extra dollar for meat), or you can do pizza bagels yourself.
I certainly don’t have all the answers folks, but the little I’ve included above has really helped me manage a lot of kids at once without loosing my mind. Hope it helps, feel free to comment below!