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.