Wednesday, February 6, 2008

It Works For Us

I've been lurking on several mom blogs and picking up ideas about everything from homemaking to blogging and more. I've noticed that several have sections about things that work for them. Some are even themed (crafts, homeschooling, recipes, organizing). Over the last 4 years, we've figured out a few shortcuts and little things that seem to make life run more smoothly at our house. So, I think I'm going to post a few every now and then and tag the posts as "it works for us". Every family is unique so these are in no way intended to be one size fits all advice or claims to genius or anything like that. Just things that work at our crazy house with three 4 year olds, two dogs, three cats, a mom and a dad and a sister who may never move out (a whole other topic to be sorted out another day). Here it goes-the very first It Works For Us...

Our boys attend a Montessori preschool and we have been embracing much of the Montessori philosophy for early childhood at home as well. Recently this has carried over into independent food (snack) choices. The boys are becoming increasingly independent as they master new skills everyday. They are able to dress themselves and usually are given the freedom to choose what they wear (weather appropriate, of course). This results in some ensembles that would rival any worst dressed list winner - but they are happy and warm so who am I to judge? They have designated shelves in our home for their books, puzzles, games and art supplies so they may access any of them at any time. They get their own cups and water (from the refrigerator dispenser). And now, they choose what to have for snack and when. Much of our survival as a triplet family has hinged on efficiency. It is really the only way I've stayed (barely) sane. So this new freedom has been a difficult adjustment for Mommy who is used to running things on a tight schedule. But it has been really neat to watch how proud they are when we create an environment that allows them to do for themselves. So here is what we've done - and it is working out fantastically:

I cleaned out the pantry (agh) and left one low shelf to be designated for the boys. I bought a 100 pack of snack bags (smaller, sealable baggies) and filled them with appropriately portioned healthy snacks (Spelt pretzels, trail mix, raisins, craisins) as well as some pre-packaged cereal bars and fruit leathers and stocked the shelf. I also filled some up with carrot sticks and celery and placed them on the bottom shelf of the fridge. I use little plastic storage containers without lids to keep them separated and semi-organized. When someone says they are hungry (which is all day long around here), I say okay, you may choose a snack and they are so grateful (still, and we have been doing this over a month now) and excited to be able to do for themselves. They get their own, take it to their seat at the table, eat, clean up and go back to whatever they were doing before snack. No whining about when is it going to be time for snack, no work for me and no argument about what they're having because they picked it. And, they feel important, confident and proud because they did something on their own. It's a win-win and it works for us!

3 comments:

JMom said...

Thanks for posting this, Danielle! I am going to send some folks over to check out your ideas if you don't mind!

MaryBeth said...

Great idea! I hope I can remember it in a year or so when my little gals may be able to help themselves in the same fashion!

The Straight's said...

Sounds like the boys are growing up fast! How exciting it is to pick out your OWN food :)