Summer is fast approaching, and for most of us this means that our kids will be home ALL day, for about 2-3 months. Since most of the activity in our homes happens in the kitchen, I thought I’d lend a few helpful tips for keeping your kitchen organized and functional this Summer, while more of the family is home during the day.
I don’t know about your kids, but when mine are bored, or can’t seem to find anything much to do… they keep themselves busy with snacking. So having some simple, easy-to-grab, healthy snacks within reach, is always a great way to make sure your refrigerator and pantry stay nice and organized.
Using baggies or small baskets with labels to categorize individual portions for snacks, will also help cut back on overeating, as well as keep you aware of what products need to be replaced, once they run out.
A cool product I found recently were these stick up cups. These kid friendly cups come in lots of different colors, and are made with a magnet attached to one side, so once your child is done with his/her drink, they simply stick the cup onto the fridge until next time! This would cut back on extra dishes at the end of the day, and it also helps to keep counters free of clutter!
Whenever there is a change in my normal routine, I tend to forget things easily. Having small children and/or teenagers home all day can sometimes lead to a lot more commotion and scheduling conflicts. Finding an area in your home where you can mount some sort of calender or reminder list, with everyone’s agenda on it, is the perfect way to keep things in order.
If you don’t have space in your kitchen for a mini home office, then try using the empty space at the end of a set of cabinets, to mount reminders and lists of important events for the week.
If you’re really tight on space, then combine the best of both worlds! Organize and store kid-friendly snacks on a few shelves in your kitchen cupboard, while also utilizing the empty space on the back of that same cupboard, by turning it into a simple note/calender center.
Since the routine of waking up and getting ready for school isn’t something kids have to do in the summertime, try motivating them to ‘get going for the day’ by posting job or chore charts. Small children are usually just excited to please Mom or Dad by checking their given chores off their lists… but teenagers on the other hand take a little more coaxing. By using job magnets with different dollar amounts on them, your house can stay clean, while your teenagers earn money!
Keep in mind that chores for smaller children are a lot easier to complete on their own, if you create kid-friendly storage solutions. Dedicate a drawer, low cupboard or basket in your kitchen for their dishes, so that they don’t have to ask siblings or adults for help.
This tip is also useful when deciding on where to store games or art supplies to keep kids entertained, while you’re busy in the kitchen. If you keep these sorts of items low and within reach, kids are more likely to use them, and stay out of the way.
Lastly, the dreaded question at the end of each day… “Mom, what’s for dinner?” can basically be eliminated, by creating a menu board for all to see. Get your kids involved with dinner making decisions too, so that you don’t have to hear any whining or complaining when it comes to meal time.