Raising quintuplets? What another Austin-area mom can tell the Hodges family

Sunday, we wrote about the last Hodges quintuplet leaving Seton Medical Center after being born on March 24.  Liz and Daniel Hodges headed home with daughter Teagan and sons Connell, Liam, Nolan and Dillon. The quintuplets join 2-year-old big brother Rowan at home.

Daniel and Liz Hodges, of Temple, along with their 2-year-old son Rowan, hold their quintuplets, from left, Nolan, Liam, Connell, Teagan and Dillon, at Seton Medical Center Austin on Sunday. Dillon was the last of the five babies to go home Sunday after spending four months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The Hodges can take a lesson from the Wilkinsons, Rachelle and Jayson, who had quintuplets Kyndall, Ryder, Rustin, Kaydence and Kassidy 10 years ago this month, joining siblings Riley and Kaiya, who were 7 and 4 at the time.

When we profiled the Wilkinsons in their Cedar Park house in 2013, we learned a lot from Rachelle about organizing seven children.

Rachelle Wilkinson serves out dinner to her seven children at home in Cedar Park in 2013. (Erich Schlegel/For American-Statesman)

Here were some of her tips:

  1. Get help. The Wilkinsons had a rotating group of people who came in that first year to feed, hold and diaper babies. They put the babies in the front room to allow for easy access for volunteers. The kitchen and living room were neutral areas and the upstairs were family-only areas.
  2. Color code everything. Each kid had a color that has followed them throughout their lives. From bottles to clothing to backpack hooks, it just brought some order to the chaos. When a color wasn’t possible, they used a symbol like a sun or a heart.
  3. Have bins for each kid to put their things heading in and out of the house, and for kids to put their school work, as well as place for Mom or Dad to sign papers for school.
  4. Plan clothing for the week using over-the-door shoe holders for each kid.
  5. Make lunches ahead of time and freeze them.
  6. Give each kid a job on the chore board. The jobs rotate and Mom or Dad signs off on them to for the child to earn a reward ticket.
  7. Organized toys by type into bins. Some bins went away for a while and then returned while other bins swapped out.
  8. Find the restaurants that allow kids to eat for free. The Wilkinsons were fans of IKEA for that reason.

“I try so hard to be organized with these guys,” Rachelle Wilkinson told us in 2013. “But with so many kids, it’s chaos all the time.”

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