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Help- what do I do with six children under 7 tomorrow? update, thanks everyone!


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#1 deejie

Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:06 PM

It's the school holidays and I have been helping to look after a friend's children (one aged 7 and one aged 10 months) while she works (her 10 month old doesn't start his child care place until February but she was forced back a bit earlier than planned). Added to that, I have my own two, DS1 aged 3 and DS2 aged 13 months.

Tomorrow I also (crazily?) volunteered to help out a good friend who has a work training day and couldn't get the extra child care day (unless someone in the room is sick) for her two children aged 3 and 4.

So I will have-
A seven year old
A four year old
Two 3 year olds
A 13 month old
A ten month old

I will have all six between 830am until approximately 2pm, when the 3 and 4 year olds are picked up. I have a big house, a court yard (no back yard), but access to a big stretch of public park right at my front door. Not fenced, but on a very quiet cul de sac.

I am starting to get nervous though. What was I thinking? My friends are packing their lunch and snacks, so I don't have to worry about that... and they are both so grateful they have both said they don't care if they watch TV all day   wink.gif  but what do I do with that many children..... help me EB!

Edited by deejie, 15 January 2013 - 07:29 PM.


#2 FeralEsme

Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:14 PM

Water play in the courtyard? A few buckets and containers of water, squirty toys if you have some.

Drawing,, make a big batch of play dough, let them draw on the path outside with chalk, make cornflour goop (outside!). A play in the park.

Blocks and toys that you have will probably keep them amused too. I would definitely be utilising the TV, a movie for a 'rest' in the afternoon would be a great idea. Also, ask the 7 year old to help you with the littler ones, they should be quite capable of organising an imaginary game for the 3 and 4 year olds.

You will probably be surprised at how smoothly it will go.


#3 KT1978

Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:23 PM

Maybe ask the friends to do a plate of finger foods fruits and sandwiches rather than individual lunches so you can jus let them help themselves outside. Have plastic cups and a jug of drink ready too so you don't need to get kids drinks.

Make the seven year old play teachers with the littler ones.

Chalk and outside toys sound good too.

#4 Coffeegirl

Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:24 PM

Jesmstar has beaten me to some ideas.

But personally I'd leave the park for another day.  That many littlies in an unfenced area (even if quiet) would freak me out!

Definitely get the 7 year old to assist.  Especially when you are distracted with a nappy change or feeod prep.

Some other ideas.

Get some paint brushes and have them 'paint' the outside of the house or fence with water.
Craft ideas?  Have them make things for their parents?  




#5 katiebear26

Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:40 PM

would it be possible to run a hose and sprinkler into the park right at your house? maybe borrow a neighbour's sprinkler? if it's hot running through it (even in own clothes - they dry off!) is heaps of fun for littlies.

make musical instruments out of plastic bottles and pasta?

other than that, plenty of colouring in, maybe acting out one of their books or a fairy tale, dress ups etc. Ask the parents to send along stuff that will help you - books, dvd, dress up clothes etc.


#6 Feral Dinosaurus

Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:48 PM

Sms me and ask me to come over to help wink.gif

I just have T tomorrow so can come over for a few hours if you like.

With the little ones naps and the amount of food that many kids will want to eat it will go quickly, the 7yo will love having little kids to boss around and visa versa original.gif

#7 Mose

Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:56 PM

You glory in the admiration of the EB community!  Not sure how that will help with the kids but!

PPs have offered some great suggestions, and having found myself in similar positions in the past, I can say for you it will go quickly.  Between nappy changes, toilet trips and snacks...you will be run off your feet, but the time will go quickly.

My one piece of advice is to have them in one area of the house that has plenty of things to do (toys/books accessible) so when you are occupied with say a nappy change, you don't spend the next 5 minutes finding 5 other kids all over the house and what they have been up to!  Obviously the better child proofed this space is, the less opportunities for destructive behaviour (intentional or otherwise).

And don't be too disappointed in yourself if the TV option ends up being the go!

Good luck!

#8 niggles goes feral

Posted 14 January 2013 - 04:05 PM

That's a pretty normal number of kids in my family - though two babies will certainly add an extra layer of 'fun'.

My strategy is to have the house organised with stations of things for them to do in various places. A basket of baby toys on the mat, older kids toys and lego set out in the bedroom. Crafts laid out on the dining table (with a packet of wipes nearby for the inevitable messes) with puzzles and games in a stack at one end for a change of scene.

I try to engage the older kids in something soon after they arrive so I can leave them to it for a while. Then check on the littlies and get started on a snack. Bring them together for that to kill some time - picnic blanket outside if weather permits makes clean up easier.

Pop on a movie in the heat of the day or while you need some quiet to get babies off to sleep. Alternatively get the older kids to play 'schools' with the younger ones in a bedroom, so they can read stories 'quietly' together.

The park is good to blow off some steam later in the day after babies wake up. Though sometimes it's more trouble than it's worth because of the inevitable "I need to go to the toilet' that comes with that many kids in one place.

Good luck to you. The first time is always the hardest and then you realise that 5 is a critical mass and any more than that makes no big difference.

#9 JRA

Posted 14 January 2013 - 04:06 PM

Easy - RUN AWAY

#10 gizboo

Posted 14 January 2013 - 04:26 PM

I had 7 under 6 today (4 are mine wink.gif ), they pretty much occupied themselves in the morning running amok, we had fruit & pikelets for morning tea which they helped me mix up. They ALL had to help me clean up the toys before we had lunch.
We had a picnic lunch on the picnic rug in the loungeroom and then watched a movie during quiet time while the two little ones had nap. The day flew by, you can do it! original.gif

#11 Freddie'sMum

Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:11 PM

You are a brave, brave woman OP.

Lots of PPs have had great suggestions.

What about playdoh / bubbles / chalk / art and craft - anything that gets the bigger ones sitting down and drawing / colouring / - a basket of toys for the babies to dribble on and put in their mouths.

Cut up fruit / food and put it all on plastic plates - (do any of the kids have allergies??) so the bigger ones can just help themselves.

I personally wouldn't take them all to a park unless it was fenced - but you know your area much better than me.

Again, you are a brave, brave woman - good luck !!


#12 tickly_rain

Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:19 PM

I wouldn't be doing the park, but there are plenty of great ideas here.  You could get them to make the uncooked version of play dough (doesn't last as long, but would get them involved from the beginning of the process).

They could decorate/collage their own placemat for lunch or if you want something less formal for the older ones, throw a sheet over a table or couple of chairs to make a cubby for lunch.

I generally find children who come visiting are so happy exploring the different toys and games that I don't need to do much "formal" organising.

Good luck!

#13 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:28 PM

Create a "play School'. Older kids are the presenters, and help run the ideas for the littlies. Can be hysterically funny, because they can be Justine, or Jay, or Karen or Teo, or Big Ted, or Little Ted.... tell stories, tell time, make pictures, make masks, do all sorts of things.

And if the big kids are 'leading', the little kids will lap it up.

#14 Lyra

Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:42 PM

* Grab a whole heap of plastic toys right now and pop them in a big container of water and freeze it. The kids will have fun tomorrow as the water unfreezes and reveals all the animals.

* a huge container of water with lots of washing up liquid in it. Get the kids to wash dolls, toys, plastic plates etc etc

* Do you have big pieces of paper or cardboard? Trace around a child and get the others to decorate the inside. Also works in chalk outside

* lots of boxes, sticky tape and glue. Let them have it!

* are you up for cooking something together?

failing that: hit the valium around about 2 wink.gif



#15 ♥~Bodhichitta~♥

Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:43 PM

QUOTE (Freddie'sMum @ 14/01/2013, 07:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You are a brave, brave woman OP.


Yep, I am in awe.  I'm hyperventilating just at the thought  happy.gif

I have no suggestions, but wanted to say good luck!  And you are a great friend for people all these people out  wub.gif

#16 Lyra

Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:48 PM

Has anyone mentioned playdoh yet? If you don't have any you could always make some up.

Also, google colouring in sheets. Get them to colour in or decorate

You might also find being at a new house, new and different toys will be new and interesting and keep them amused (well, you'd think that wink.gif )

#17 JustBeige

Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:58 PM

Me? I would hide under the doona and cry.



You?  You are all awesome helping out that many people biggrin.gif


TBH, I would have lots of craft stuff laying around.  Outside chalk drawing is a great idea.

Playpens or portable cot set up for the babys so they can play without being lumbered over by the 3 and 4yr olds.  Plus you have somewhere to ditch them if you hear that freaky silent sound and have to run for your life to stop them from whatever mischief they are neck deep in laughing2.gif

Have fun and wine oclock will be defintely early tomorrow night!

#18 What'sNext??

Posted 14 January 2013 - 08:23 PM

It will be busy! I did it last holidays with 3 kids for a sleepover and stay for the day along with my 4.

Have a constant supply of food- the less preparation needed the better- fruit, finger sandwiches, cheese & crackers, etc.  drink bottles would also save a lot of time!

One thing we did do was chalk drawing out the front.  They were pretty excited about coloring in bricks multi-coloured, colouring on trees, etc. we did it in the morning and whilst we were in the midst of it I had the great idea of shadow drawing- the older kids (2 7 year olds) and I drew chalk shadow outlines as well as foot outlines of everyone who wanted one. It then became an ongoing activity to go and check what happened to the shadow as the sun moved.  

We also set up a cubby house using a queen sized sheet with picnic blanket on the ground underneath. They loved that.

Mostly they just played together, luckily really, as I was flat out keeping up with the food and drink requests and looking after my baby.

Good luck- it will be crazy, but hopefully fun!

#19 whatnamenow

Posted 14 January 2013 - 08:23 PM

Relax..  i have 10 children every mon-Fri every day of the school holidays.  The key is planning.

Split the day up, As PP have said put a movie on with some blankets and pillows on the floor after lunch, the younger once can sleep and the older ones can rest.

Spray bottles are fun,  I always have a stash of spray bottles full of water for the kids to run around for a 'water fight'  they get a mist of water that cools them but dries quickly and have a blast chasing each other.

Strip em off with some non toxic paint and huge sheets of butchers paper and let them body paint. ( do this outside!!  then have fun hosing off.

Create paper dolls then create your own puppet show.  or just create your own play.

The big secret is that more kids does get louder.  But it also gets easier. I would rather look after 15 kids then 1.  15 kids play together and everyone can find a friend.  1 or 2 they are stuck with you and each other.

#20 imamumto3

Posted 14 January 2013 - 08:28 PM

make a big batch of biscuit dough and give all the kids cookie cutters and a ball of dough.  when the smaller ones are having a nap, the older ones could decorate them.

blow up some balloons and put on music so the kids can dance and toss the balloons around.

bubble blowing outside.

#21 whatnamenow

Posted 14 January 2013 - 08:28 PM

Relax..  i have 10 children every mon-Fri every day of the school holidays.  The key is planning.

Split the day up, As PP have said put a movie on with some blankets and pillows on the floor after lunch, the younger once can sleep and the older ones can rest.

Spray bottles are fun,  I always have a stash of spray bottles full of water for the kids to run around for a 'water fight'  they get a mist of water that cools them but dries quickly and have a blast chasing each other.

Strip em off with some non toxic paint and huge sheets of butchers paper and let them body paint. ( do this outside!!  then have fun hosing off.

Create paper dolls then create your own puppet show.  or just create your own play.

The big secret is that more kids does get louder.  But it also gets easier. I would rather look after 15 kids then 1.  15 kids play together and everyone can find a friend.  1 or 2 they are stuck with you and each other.

#22 *melrose*

Posted 14 January 2013 - 08:46 PM

Go hide, and don't come out  laughing2.gif

#23 Lyra

Posted 15 January 2013 - 03:59 PM

How did you go? I've been thinking of you today

#24 luke's mummu

Posted 15 January 2013 - 04:40 PM

How did it go? I've been thinking of you as I tried to keep my 2 occupied today!

#25 Natttmumm

Posted 15 January 2013 - 04:46 PM

Oh my your wonderwoman. Great suggestions in the replies. I have 2 and i think its hard. Im not complaining again




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