Welcome to the Mom's Morning Out Blog! We are here to share with you some of the great activities we participate in every day at MMO and to give you some ideas on how to carry those activities over into your home. Because of our varied age group we aren't your typical preschool learning environment, we learn on the go and while we play, which is the best way to have it in our opinion! Our theme, shapes, letters and colors are introduced at the beginning of our day, usually through the chalk board and manipulatives we have out and reinforced during snack and circle time. Our themes at MMO are reinforced through our craft activities and the stories we choose to read each week. Learning at MMO is never forced and always fun. We try and expose the children to early learning skills through fun play and exploration. We hope you enjoy our blog and we'd love to hear your feedback! Be sure to check out our website!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Kids and Chores...Part 2

Now that you have a list of the types of chores that are age appropriate for your child it's time to put them into action. There are a ton of ways to do this and the best advice I can give is 'do what works for you'.   Trial and error may come into play, but when you get a system that works it'll be well worth the effort!

The first thing you need to do is figure out how many chores your child will be responsible for.  Most of the chores on your list probably will not take up a whole heap of time. My line of thought is one chore per year old.  My youngest just turned four and my oldest is about to turn seven, so we are currently in chore transition at our house.  Assigning new chores, rearranging some (since they are both big enough to take on harder chores the younger child will take over some of his brothers and the older child will get new ones)  and redoing our 'charts'.
From Little Brown Pen, link at end of post

I have also read the recommendation of cutting the child's age in half and rounding up when necessary.  With that line of thought my youngest would only have two chores and I don't personally feel that's enough.  Mind you his chores include making sure all the shoes in the house are where they belong and emptying the bathroom trashcan into the kitchen trashcan...neither of those take much time.  As they get older and chores become more complex and take longer, they have more homework and after school activities I will probably not continue on with adding on a chore a year...Again, you have to do what works for you.

In the past my boys have had set chores.  The youngest had his same three chores every day, the oldest the same six.  Since we are in chore transition we'll have a few chores that they both can do and those won't be permanent assignments...we'll switch it up a bit and let them choose every week whose the lucky one to empty the compost and water the house plants. :D  There are also more than 11 chores to choose from.  Chores that aren't picked by the kids go to...you guessed it, MOM & DAD.  In our household the kiddos will take turns choosing the chores they want to do each week (the ones that aren't theirs permanently) and Mom & Dad get the rest along with their own permanent chores.  It is important that you include yourself and your spouse/significant other in the chore chart.  Including yourself will show that you are not of the "Do as I say, not as I do" line of thought, which is very important for young children.  Even though you are in charge of maintaining your household, it helps them to see what you are responsible for laid out in front of them and to see that you are maintaining those responsibilities.

Your next step is to figure out a way to keep track of the chores your family members are responsible for.  Chore charts are great and you can easily find them online or create your own.  With youngsters around who can't read you can cut pictures from a magazine or use clip art to help illustrate the chore they are responsible for.  You can create a printed check list, use a dry erase board, or poster board...which ever works for you.  We've used all of the above and still switch it up from time to time...still trying to find the one that works best for us.  

You also need to discuss with your family when chores are done.  I recommend that for school age children and for a household that needs to be out of the house first thing in the morning that chores be done when they return from school/work/daycare in the afternoon.  Adding in chores to the morning routine can be rather chaotic and add unnecessary stress in a household that already is scrambling to be on time.  If you are early risers and have a ton of time available in the morning, try it, it may work for you to do chores after breakfast.  Pajamas in the hamper and beds made upon waking are reasonable morning chores, dusting...not so much.

It is important that you set up guidelines for when chores are completed otherwise they will not be done.  No one wants to do chores.  I don't jump out of bed in the morning and rush off to fold laundry.  Your kids won't either.  They will also not care for the interruption of a favorite TV show or movie to get chores done.  If you interrupt fun for chores you are bound to get a lot of whining and not a lot of doing.  In our household video games are huge on the priorities list (for my kids not me) and so it's a rule that no video games can be played until chores are completed.  For my youngest who isn't as much of a fan of video games the option is boredom or chores...for the most part when we get home from Mom's Morning Out he can't play toys, watch a movie, go to the library, go outside, etc. until his chores are taken care of.

You also need to set a reasonable time frame.  One of the boys shared chores is to clean up all their toys.  This is where the kitchen timer comes in handy.  I set out a bin, turn on the timer and say - "You have ten minutes to get all the toys put into this bin or put away where they belong." Giving them the bin helps with the "I don't know where it goes." line that you are bound to hear.  And for little ones, the word NOW as in "Clean it up NOW" means something completely different than it does to you.  The timer actually makes it a little 'fun' for them...race against the clock!

Touching on what was said in Part 1...remember that it doesn't have to be perfect.  If they put the socks in the underwear drawer, don't worry about it.  Move them and put them in the right spots but don't let them see you do it.  If they see that you are going around after them 'fixing' everything they do they will not only feel like they are not doing a good enough job they will also come to expect you to take care of it when they don't put their best effort into their chores. 

As a final note, please don't ever use chores as a punishment, especially with young children.  You are teaching them responsibility and pride in their home and belongings.  Using a chore as a punishment will define chores as just that...punishment.  They are not being punished by doing chores, they are an important part of your family and their job is to make their home a better living environment for everyone.  And always be sure to "Catch them being good!"  Give them plenty of praise for a job well done.  When you notice that they actually clear their dinner plates without even being asked, let them know you noticed their effort and you are proud of them for taking the initiative to do it without being reminded.

Below are some online suggestions for Free Printable Chore Charts.  To conserve paper (and your printer ink) you may want to laminate the sheets and write on them with dry/wet erase markers. 

Check out these Printable Chore Charts:
Leah Remillet Photography - Printabel Chore Chart
Little Brown Pen - Chore Charts
Posh Little - Kids Chore Chart

And if you are feeling really crafty, you could try something like this!
I love love love the above Chore Chart for Multiple Kids from How Does She

Or you could purchase one on Etsy like the one from Idaho Mom of 2 below

As always, we appreciate your feedback and comments...please share!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Kids and Chores...Part 1

Chores.  Kind of a rotten little word, but a necessity if you ask me. In my house, “If you can walk, you can work.”   

Kid Chore DON'T:  "Now that you are fresh and clean out of the bath little buddy let's get the bleach and you can scrub the toilet."

Before you call Child Protective Services, please note, I did not force my then one year old to mop or do toilets but he had to pick up after himself.   

“Help put the toys in the bin!” You’ve said it before! Voila, you’ve given your child ‘chores’ without even knowing it.  

Kid Chore DO: "Now that we are done playing, let's put all the toys back away."

When I say my children are in charge of their own chores, I get looked at like I have ten heads.  Some parents are in awe of how I can get a child to do anything when asked and there are others who are horrified that I’m not letting my kid ‘be a kid’.  Please note…they are not ironing or waxing floors…promise! 

"Billy! Mind yer pleats!"

Taking care of your dishes at the end of the meal, that’s a chore believe it or not. The simple task (along with the act of labeling it a chore) is teaching your child responsibility and to follow through and some day when they are the ones in charge of a house full of laundry, dishes, etc it’ll be old hat. They’ve been doing it all along after all.

Chores your children do now really aren’t going to get your house clean.  I want to clear that up right there.  If you think you are going to have an extra hour on your hands because your two year old is now in charge of collecting the stray socks in the house and your five year old is helping unload the dishwasher…you are wrong. Your house will not suddenly sparkle with the addition of a few more little helpers…if you thought that blog post was going to make that happen…please stop reading now and click HERE.

You may ‘actually’ have more work on your hands…okay, not ‘may’ you will have more work on your hands.    

You will have to show them how to do their chores until it is a learned activity (just like everything else), you will guide them through it probably every day for at least the first few weeks (and this will depend on age/task, etc) but please…don’t give in because it’s taking to long for them to ‘get it’ on their own.   

You will have to remind them for some time until it becomes something they quickly know they need to do (which will happen…my six year old knew that when he got off the bus, he did his chores before he could play video games, no reminders needed).  It takes two weeks before something becomes a habit, and that’s with doing it EVERY DAY...which I know you...you'll forget a few times or the day will be too crazy and there will be no time for chores...etc etc...It'll take longer than two weeks. But it WILL HAPPEN.

So not only will you have to teach them how to do the chore and remind them to do them…you will have to clean up after them.  I know, I know…what’s the point of having my four year old make his bed if I just have to go back and do it?  Relax mom.  1. It doesn’t have to be perfect. 2. Let me reiterate, it doesn't have to be perfect. You can go back and remake it after your child is done if you REALLY need it to be perfect (but please please please don’t let them see you do this) and 3.  It is better to have your 4 year old learn to make his bed now then to have to beg and plead your 16 year old to at least put a sheet on it before the mattress walks out of the house and throws itself to the curb because it just can't stand its own stench anymore.  

If they make it...can they jump on it? 

By giving your child chores now, you are giving them a sense of responsibility that will follow through in other areas of their life.  If they can’t keep track of their toys now how will they learn to keep track of their homework when they get to school? You will be providing them a sense of ownership and pride.  They will know that they don’t have to rely on Mom and Dad all the time to take care of things for them, they can do it themselves…wow!  How awesome it is to provide that gift so early in life.  “My bedroom is clean and neat and that’s because I am taking care of it.”  

By giving your children chores early on, you are teaching them to grow up to be responsible and independent adults.  When those other kids are spending their first weeks at college wearing the same underwear seven days in a row because they don’t know how to do laundry and are waiting until the next weekend home for mom to do it for them…your kid will be clean, crisp and smell good…imagine that…smelling good in college…all because when they were three you had them help empty the washing machine and put the wet clothes in the dryer…go you!

Now...where to start.  Start off by making a list of chores that your child can do.  Below are a list of age appropriate chores to start you off.  All chores from the later age categories include the age appropriate chores listed prior...except the diaper.  Let's hope that gets dropped along they way and they don't need one at 14...

Ages 2 and under - get diaper when they need a change, put toys in buckets or bins, put dirty clothes in the hamper...
Ages 3 - 5 - help empty the dishwasher, help clear/set the table, make bed (aka put a pillow on it and pull comforter up), put books on bookshelf, water plants, take clothes out of the dryer, dust low furniture, put clean clothes in room, match clean socks, sort laundry by lights/darks...
Ages 6 - 9 - feed pets, tidy bedroom, empty trashcans, fold washcloths and towels, wash dishes...
Ages 10-13 - pack own snack/lunch for school, laundry - wash, dry, fold, clean windows, take trash to the curb, shovel snow, clean bedroom, mop floors...
Ages 14 - 17 - clean bathroom (toilet, sinks, shower), help prepare meals, mow the lawn...
Age 18 - Move out and take care of your own house with all the awesome knowledge you've learned over the years... ;) 

Ok, so now that you've got some examples of things your kiddo can do and what a realistic age appropriate chore is, start your list.  In Part 2 (coming later this week) we'll talk about what to do with those lists to get your kids on the road to becoming responsible, independent, awesome little people!! 
"Sharp pleats ironed into pants..."

Your comments are welcome and appreciated! Please be sure to click the link below to share!

PS - I hope you all know I'm kidding about all the 'pleat' talk!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

This week we got a jumpstart on celebrating the adoption of The Declaration of Independence in 1776 which declared America's independence from Great Britain...aka 4th of July...by reading some books about 4th of July and Independence Day and creating our own Fireworks on paper. These fireworks were made with our special 'sparkly paint' mixture and a straw and your child's blowing power!  The kids explored a new method of painting by using the breath to blow the paint around on the page to make "Fireworks".  They came out great and they had a ton of fun using this non traditional method to paint.

Below are some of the great books we checked out this week!  You can click on them to find them on Amazon.com if you are interested in adding them to your library.

If you are looking for a tasty 4th of July treat...check out this Patriotic Pops Recipe from FamilyFun.com
Be sure to join us next week as we jump feet first into our Summer Theme! :)  Have a safe and Happy 4th Everyone!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

All about Dinosaurs!

We've had a great time this week exploring our theme, dinosaurs!  We have multiple stuffed dinosaurs as well as plastic dinosaurs and dinosaur bones to explore.  Our shape of the week was a triangle, color was Green and letter was X!

Here are some cute pictures of a few of our friends who enjoyed their craft for the week, a baby dinosaur who has just hatched from an egg!


Coloring for little ones is often easier with our large 'cookie' crayons
 To make 'cookie' crayons.  Simply peel old crayons and break into small pieces.  Place in a lined muffin tin (I use muffin tin liners - the paper ones work better than metal in my experience).  You may not be able to use that muffin tin again if you end up with some melted crayon on it, so use an older tin or buy one of those disposable ones specifically for this craft.  You can also use the silicone muffin tins, however you will never use them for muffins again, trust me.  Try buying the ones that are different shapes for different times of the year, you can often get them on clearance or at dollar stores (think hearts for Valentines Day).

You can put the same colors all together in each tin or mix it up - just note that the darker crayons end up taking over a bit...Place in 250 degree oven until melted...about ten minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing them from the tin and liners.

Voila!  These crayons last a long time (the ones in the above picture are three years old) and are enjoyed by both big and little kids! Just make sure no one tries to take a bite! I recommend you use a better quality crayon (think Crayola) because the cheaper crayons seem to have more wax separate from the color...so you end up with a layer of clear wax on the top of your cookie crayon that you need to wear away before you can get any color from them. 

Proud of her Dinosaur

Laurie Berkner has a fun song that we love to march around the room too.  We all grab an instrument and march to this fun song saving our best roar's for the end!

Our books for the week were:
How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? by Jane Yolen

How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen

Sammy and the Dinosaurs by Ian Whybrow

Patick's Dinosaurs by Carol Carrick

Friday, May 27, 2011

All about Owls

This week our theme was Owls.  
It was a hoot! :) 

We read some great books! 
Click the images to go to the Amazon link for each book.

cock-a-doodle-hooooooo! by Mick Manning & Brita Granstrom
Mouse in the House by John and Ann Hassett 

Berkeley's Barn Owl Dance by Tera Johnson & Tania Howells

The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson & Pawl Howard

Our Letter of the Week was T

Color of the Week was Brown

Shape of the Week was Triangle

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!!

Happy Happy Birthday to Dr. Seuss!

He's definitely on my list of idols...a man who knew the importance of being silly and having a sense of humor.

We celebrated him this week by making Dr. Seuss The Cat In the Hat hats and silly fish from One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.

Those were also our books for the week.  If you don't own these books, you should!

 Check out the Dr. Seuss website! For some fun activities, games and videos.

If you are looking for some Dr. Seuss coloring pages go HERE

Also, check out the National Education Association page for some reading tips!

"The research is clear: children who are read to, and who read for pleasure, are significantly more successful in school than children who do not. Give your children a head start on success—teach them that reading is FUN!"

Books are the Best!

Next week we will be learning about Mice.  If you need us, please give us a call or send us an email.

A reminder on some upcoming FUN dates - we'd love to have you join us so be sure to RSVP early!

3/12 Parents Night
3/16 Parent Child Playdate
3/20 UnBirthday Party

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Here's your place to vote on your choice for February's Special.  Vote now - Friday and our FEBRUARY SPECIAL will be announced on FB on FRIDAY, FEB 4th

Which would you prefer for our FEBRUARY SPECIAL?
Bring a Friend Friday for $5 (your child + friends child = $30 total)
Tuesday afternoons for $15
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