Nate's finalization Nov. 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

color coding my kids - pros and cons

I color code my kids. It started as a way to keep track of whose plate was still on the table, whose towel was on the floor, etc. The nice part is, the kids love it. They take it pretty seriously. So here are their colors:

Landon - Green

Luke - Blue

N- Orange

Dylan - Red

A - Pink

Stix - Yellow

Now, the babies don't really need a color yet, but I didn't want to leave them out either. Their colors are mostly used for my own organizational purposes.

When a child comes to our house, I eventually make them a "snuggle" with their color scheme. A snuggle is a small blankie, about 18" x 24" with fringed edges. I'll admit right now that I have had A and Stix's material for quite some time, and have failed to come up with the finished product yet. Bad, bad mommy. But the general idea is to give them something that is just theirs, that they can snuggle up with in bed.

The also each have a small basket in their color for school papers and such. That goes on a marked Cubby in our bookshelf. They each have 3 marked cubbies for their stuff, the bottom cubby for their shoes, the middle for their backpack, and the top for their basket.

Each child has their own laundry basket (even the babes). Thanks to the makers of "Duck Tape", I can get tape in all their colors. I put their color tape around the handles of the basket. When I do laundry and sort clothes, each child's clothes go into their basket and the big kids all put away their own. They "fold" as well. I'm not picky about how well it is folded, as long as their drawers all close when they are done.

Each child has a bath towel, hand towel, wash rag, bath pouf, and tooth brush in their color. We hang the hand towels and bath poufs with 3M hooks (love those things!). That way, when Luke goes to wipe off his just-washed-but-somehow-still-dirty hands on the towel, he only gets his own towel dirty, and not the community towel. I used to use paper towels, thanks to the idea from my sister LeAnn. But the kiddos were extremely wasteful, and I'm cheap. Plus, I had a 10th grade Biology teacher who drilled conservation into our heads- Thanks Mr. Strube! While I'm certainly no tree hugger, I do try not to be wasteful, and going through 3 rolls of paper towels a week was a bit much.

We also have plates (both divided and flat), cups, and bowls in each color. The kids dishes are in a low cupboard so they can reach their own. They may use one cup a day. We do a lot of dishes (and laundry) around here, so that helps cut down a bit. They are responsible for setting and cleaning up their own dishes.

One of the main "cons" is my tendency to go overboard with this whole color scheme thing. We were at Wal-Mart and they had cute flip flops and boat shoes in all the right colors. I didn't buy any, but man did I want to. It is a good thing we are poor, or I would definitely take color scheming to an unhealthy level. Such as, when we were recently at Ikea, they had lap blankets on sale in all the right colors. Now, we have 3419 blankets in this house and at least half of those are lap blankets. We live in Arizona. But guess what we came home from Ikea with? Cute new blankets that were entirely unnecessary. They do look cute all snuggled up with them on movie night, though. Another con is passing on the color mania to my children. Now they think they get to buy everything they see in their color. I hear constant rings of "Look, mom, can we buy this? it's my color" while we're at the store. They also think that EVERYTHING at home in their color belongs to them. N thinks the orange power screwdriver is his, Landon is convinced he can use the green sharpie whenever he wants... Why doesn't Luke want anything to do with the blue broom, though?

One of the major "pros" was entirely unforeseen. When little mr. N joined our family, he'd spent quite a bit of time in his short 3 years being bounced around. Having a color that is "his" has helped him feel at home here, I think. No one takes their color as seriously as he does. He LOVES orange. He wears orange as often as possible. He loves knowing that he doesn't have to share his orange plates, orange towel, and orange blanket with anyone. He is the only one that has formed an attachment to his snuggle. He loves that thing and carries it all around the house.

And While I'm on the subject, I owe a big thanks to my sister LeAnn who has been on the lookout for me. She just sent us a lovely package in the mail with orange, pink AND yellow divided plates. Yay!

As for me, I have a plastic filing tray marked with each kiddos color, a small expanding file folder for each child marked with their color (so convenient to grab on the way out the door and know you have the right kids shot record), storage bucket, and various other thing like that to help me keep organized. Maybe one of these days I'll actually FEEL organized. for now, our house is somewhere in the vicinity of slightly organized chaos.


Heather said...

What a great idea! I am going to file away the color coding scheme for future use. Hmmm, what will be my first baby's color? Pink seems too obvious...

Meredith said...

We do this too! I don't color code SO much, but each kid has a set of 2 towels that are theirs, and one can be hanging up, the other in the laundry or linen closet. That way if someone comes down sick or with a rash or something of the like we know no one shared towels. I also have baskets of diapers under the changing table and each is labeled not by color but initials. By the front door we have cubbies- each member of the family has a cubby with a bin with their initial on it and there are 3 'extra' cubbies for lunchboxes and school bags to go. We're going to expand this soon because we've outgrown it and with #5 on the way we'll need more there. I also have specific washcloths for each child so they don't share germs or messes that way. My kids aren't very independent yet, but the one that is knows what is his and the others are quickly understanding that they have their own things too!

There were 6 of us growing up and we always had colored towels too :) I think it sticks with you!

Heather said...

Happy Birthday! I hope you are celebrating the way you want to.

Luke the Belly Popper

Spread the Word to End the Word