We used to dump a lot of milk down the drain. One of the boys wouldn’t finish his milk at dinner, so the cup would be put in the fridge. Somehow, we’d accumulate 3 or 4 of these in the fridge, and then not remember whose cup was whose. So, they would sit there until they got a little stinky, then we’d dump them out.
The kids would use a new cup at every meal, making for a constantly full dishwasher, and the cupboard was a jumble of miss-matched plastic cups. Occasionally, an argument would break out among my usually-oh-so-angelic children regarding which drinking vessel each got to use during mealtime, which disrupted their mother’s usually-oh-so-patient demeanor. Although hearing “I want the cow cup! Matthew got it last time! Why do I ALWAYS have to use the green cup! It’s MY turn! I don’t LIKE the green cup!” always added a little sunshine to my day by expediting nap time, it was time to put an end to it all.
The Color-Coded Cup Makeover:
I ordered a few packs of these from Amazon.com. Each child has been assigned a color. They know their color, and they don’t argue. If a blue cup is half-full of something in the refrigerator, we know it’s Jesse’s. As I pour their drinks, Matthew can pass them out to his brothers, and knows that orange is always his. We also have corresponding plates, and they love to have their own color.
Also, they fit neatly in the cupboard.
Color-coding their cups has worked so well, we also use this system for many other things. For example, Jesse’s toothbrush is always blue, Micah’s is always yellow, and Matthew’s is either orange or red. When Aaron’s mom bought the boys matching backpacks for Christmas, she clipped a colored carabiner on them to let them instantly identify their own.
It works for me!
When Jesse asked why his color is blue, we told him it was to match is blue eyes. Even though all of the kids have blue eyes, we sometimes call Jesse, “Jesse blue-eyes.” Lately when he helps set the table, however, he calls his brothers “Micah yellow-eyes” and “Matthew orange-eyes.”