What's the big deal about Young Living

The Buddy System in Action

I have had a few questions about HOW in the world the Smockity Bunch gets anywhere on time, what with the loading and buckling in of the multitudes.

In that spirit, I give you "How to Load 7 Children in a Van in a Jiffy".  (This video is under a minute, if you can even believe I can be that brief about anything at all!  What? I like to use my words.)

We use the buddy system, which is to say that each "big kid" is assigned a little one to help with anything that needs doing.  I have plenty of "big kid" help, so I don't have to get all the little ones inside the van and buckle them in myself.

Another tactic we use is to have assigned seating in the van and the dinner table. This eliminates any discussions or arguments about who goes where and who had that seat last time. Just last week, my kids were appalled to learn that our neighbors could sit ANYWHERE they wanted at the table and in the car. They thought that everyone had assigned seats!

We use the same buddy system with getting dressed, bath time, family fire drills, and lots of other labor intensive practices. I am always on hand to supervise and assist as needed, but with plenty of older siblings ready and willing to help out, I can count on lots of help. Many hands make light work!

**Note: Normally we all wear shoes when we are going places for real, but that's the part that would have taken an extra 15 minutes: Finding everyone's shoes! And there is usually MUCH more noise involved. Apparently, the troops had stage fright.

This post is linked at DIY Day and Works For Me Wednesday.

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  1. I dream of the day when my oldest son or my daughter are coordinated enough to buckle in whomever is in the 5-point harness carseat. The oldest three can buckle those in booster seats, but not that forward facing 5-point harness type of seat. Maybe before I get too big in this pregnancy they’ll figure it out. *fingers crossed*

    And my, your children are so quiet and well-behaved! Want to swap a few girls for a few boys?

  2. Okay, my kids think I’m totally weird for taking pictures of my food for my blog. How do yours feel about filming a video of getting loaded in the van? 😉

  3. Wow! That was something! I think they got in faster than my husband and I can get our two in the car! It was like 35 seconds! I’m very impressed!

    Yeah, I think the assigned seat is great. My brother and I didn’t have official assigned seats, but we always sat in the same seat, so it kind of worked that way.

    All I can say is, wow!

  4. Ok so I am totally IMPRESSED! I like the buddy system. With three at my house, we might have to start that. :)

  5. Very efficient! 😀 My oldest can’t even buckle/unbuckle heself yet so I’ve got a couple years to go before I’ve got any help on that front. I’m just excited she’s finally big enough to climb in and out of the car and carseat by herself! Lol! Just that much is a huge help.

    I tend to be the person who takes along 150 “things” everytime we go someplace… “just in case.” I have a huge diaper bag with pullups, diapers, spare outfits, etc.; plus my large purse with everything from baby wipes and band-aids to a foldable toilet seat for the tot; plus a tote bag that has my hair brush and things and makeup, deodorant, tweezers, nail clippers… since I never have time to finish getting ready before we leave the house I do it on the way if hubby drives or at stoplights! In the winter of course there’s everyone’s coats that they don’t want to wear in the car so they get carried to the car and then worn once we get to our destination. Needless to say this plus 2 toddlers requires more than one trip to the car to carry it all out there and makes getting out of here almost more exhausting than the trip itself. So I have a couple questions for you…
    What do you take with you when you go someplace BESIDES those adorable kids? Do you have emergency stuff always in the car or do you take a bag custom-packed for the trip? If you only take spare clothes for the younger ones, what is your criteria for stopping taking spares for them? Is it an age or been potty trained for a certain amount of time or …?
    When you get home from the store does everyone carry in some groceries or do they just get the younger kids inside and you do the groceries yourself?

    • Smockity Frocks says:

      @Mama Mirage, We are held together with a lick and a promise over here, a wing and a prayer, if you will. So, no I don’t have anything in the car for emergencies. I once had to stop at a Dollar Store to buy the baby a new outfit when she had a major scatter poop while we were out.

      As for groceries, everyone helps, even the littles. I try to give them toilet paper or diapers, because did you know that dropping a gallon of milk on the driveway will cause the jug to bust and all the milk to go spilling out into the street?

  6. That is amazing! I am the oldest of seven (now ages 25-14). My parents have had a 15 passenger van since I was in 5th grade. Getting all of us into the van was NEVER that calm! The only seat assigned was the front seat, which was rotated every month. There were many fusses and pushes and much yelling involved in us loading up (but there are 5 boys so what else can you expect!).

    And no matter how old we got, finding everyone’s shoes always took 15 minutes.
    Can’t wait to start my own big family soon. :)

  7. Elizabeth Jaeckle says:

    we have started leaving shoes in the car! they always take them off in there anyway, and when it is time to go they get in and then get their shoes on, saves so much time with 5 kids!

  8. Stunning!

  9. That was GREAT!!!!!!! I made my children watch this twice. The first time we just watched it straight through. The next time I gave my running commentary and paused/rewinded when needed to emphasize certain points.
    “Notice how that girl is waiting patiently for her brother while he’s buckling in the baby and not pushing her way through to get to her seat or yelling ‘I can’t get innnnnnnnn'”

    “Notice how they did not fall like a bunch of dominos trying to be the first in the van and in the process knocking over each other and someone ending up getting stepped on or falling out on their head.”

    “Notice how they put their seat belts on right away!”

    “Notice how half a weeks worth of garbage didn’t fall out when they opened the door.”

    Now, I know your car gets messy too and you may have cleaned it for the video, but that’s just the point…it got cleaned! :) And I know that your children may not always get in as quietly and smoothly, (or maybe they do??? I’d blame it on having 9 boys, but I have a girl or two that need to work on patience), but it was an EXCELLENT example of how nicely everyone can work together and get a job done in a jiffy!
    And my children see something like this and it always encourages them to do the same! I know them :) They will talk about this and be anxious to try it. So thank yoU!
    I have a list in my binder of areas in which we need to work on training the children and how to get in and out of the van was one of those!
    We already have the buddy system here and they have their assigned seats, and so with watching this video, we may make some progress!
    I love it when you do some of my work for me, Connie! :)

    • Smockity Frocks says:

      @Jaynee, I’m so glad y’all enjoyed it! It’s amazing how well behaved the kiddies will be when you point a video camera at them and promise to post their actions on the world wide web! (In other words, that was a “best case scenario”. Things don’t always go that smoothly!)

      • @Smockity Frocks, Good point! Today I am going to video them doing math, cleaning up after a meal, putting away their clothes etc… Wait, no, my children get super silly when I point the video camera at them…that might not work :)

  10. Great video! We have assigned seats, too, with just our three. It makes things so much easier to eliminate that argument!

  11. Looks incredibly familiar! lol

  12. Wow! Your title caught my attention, and I thought two was difficult.

  13. I love the buddy system…when dealing with little ones, the big kids make great helpers, especially when each one is assigned a buddy.

  14. That was fast! We had assigned seats at the dinner table growing up, but we rotated seats in the car.

  15. It appears that the middle girl in the front seat of the van has just a lap belt? These seats are really only for installing car seats. It would be best to find a way to load the children in the car such that all the children are wearing lap-shoulder belts.

    I know we only had lap belts growing up, but over time it was realized that these were causing more severe injuries because they cover a soft-tissue area of the occupant, and all occupants of a vehicle needed 3-pt protection that went across a stronger part of the body (chest, etc). However, lap-shoulder belts are designed for adults (basically) so this necessitated children remaining in booster seats longer, in order to “boost” them up such that the lap-shoulder belt hit them properly on their bodies. This is one reason children remain in car seats longer than they used to.

    Here’s an article with some information about it: http://www.eastlakefirerescue.com/elweb/seat_belt_syndrome.htm

    And here’s a post from moms like you and me that has taken special training on this topic (she’s a Child Passenger Safety Technician) that talks about when a child is ready to sit in a seat without a booster at all:

    • Smockity Frocks says:

      @My Boaz’s Ruth, I would love for all my kids to have lap-shoulder belts, but there are only a certain number of those in every vehicle. Once the number of kids exceeds the number of lap-shoulder belts, someone has to have a lap only belt. We’ve reached that point, so we really don’t have other options.

  16. Impressive. We sort of have assigned seats. The booster seat never moves. The oldest (whoever that is – and as long as they are old enough) rides shotgun, then it goes by the next oldest and so on with the poor youngest who isn’t in a car seat in the way back in the middle. I think the key is that they know who is going to help who. (whom?)
    your kids have futures in show biz!

  17. That was impressive! I have one daughter and it seems to take her all day to get in and out of the car.

  18. Hey Connie….that’s what we do too. I never have to buckle anyone in the vehicle unless I don’t have any big kids with me. I almost panic then!!! (just kidding.)

    I will say, though, that our group is NEVER that quiet, and no, my van is never clean. I have three little boys (7,5 and 4, and they are incredibly competitive. They all want to get out of the van FIRST.) Of course we work on that….but….it is ongoing. :) A long process, you might say.

    As to the lapbelt thang….I do believe that the rules are different for large vehicles like a 15 passenger van. Do all school buses have 3 point harness systems for every child? Do little children ride in booster seats on buses? (Maybe they do….I’m just asking….it’s been awhile.) I don’t *think* they do. The larger chassis is not as vulnerable in a crash.


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