Large families generally have to contend with more parenting responsibilities than smaller ones. There will be more meals to prepare, more laundry, more socks to find, more teeth brushing, more tantrums, more monitoring and supervision, and more everything! So how do you cope with the myriad of obligations and functions assaulting you from every corner? We’ve collated some tricks in the book to ensure the seamless and stress-free running of your large household.
5 Tips for Maintaining a Large Family
- Launch the Buddy System
Initiating a buddy system promotes bonding and friendship between siblings, with or without the presence of a natural bond. Pair the kids by age – ask the older ones to take charge of the younger ones. This helps them cultivate responsibility skills and fosters love and companionship among them. With the older one helping the younger child with homework, school lunch, and dress-ups, you will have some spare time on your hands.
- Establish Individuality
In a large family, it is easy for kids to lose their sense of identity as they are constantly grouped and referred to as “kids” or “you and your brother/sister”. To establish individuality and give each child the freedom to express their personality, use boxes or drawers to allocate individual spaces for their belongings. Try to spend as much time with each child separately – read books, play games or simply talk about anything and everything. When it comes to extracurricular activities, give each child the liberty to choose the activity of their liking.
- Delegate Duties
Nothing helps to keep the household running smoothly like delegating duties. Assign chores to each child and paste a reminder on the bulletin board. Let the kids understand that managing the home is everyone’s responsibility and it makes things easier for them and you. However, don’t assign chores that are beyond their scope or strength. To keep them motivated, introduce a fun element – put together a chore jar and ask them to pick their chores each week. This will help rotate the jobs among the kids and erase monotony. Include fun treats and surprises for completed tasks to induce motivation.
- Meal Planning is a Stress Buster
Having a large family means more mouths to feed! Preparing meals and cooking each time hunger hormones come knocking is a recipe for stress. So planning your meals and prepping them in advance will spare you a considerable amount of stress, constant grocery trips, and time. Plan the meals together so family favorites can be highlighted on the menu.
Post the menu on the fridge or wall so every member of the family can make reasonable changes and additions to the listed meals. Prepare meals in bulk and store them in the freezer for a week or even a month (for as long as preservation will allow). And don’t forget to delegate some of the prepping to the older kids, so you can focus on other things.
- Adopt Organization
A home without a plan is a friend to disorder and chaos. An organizational tool that is as simple as a “To-do list” can make a lot of difference to the state of your home. It will have the kids ready in time for school, the keys and homework where they need to be, and your mental health in order. Every morning or the night before, write down your to-do list and draft a schedule for each kid. Plan in order of priority so critical tasks is done first before the less-important ones. Find a space to keep all the family’s essentials and a calendar to monitor everyone’s schedules. Get a box or storage container for sorting and keeping mails. Colors code the laundry so it is easy to sort and distribute. And a bulletin board comes in handy for tracking reminders and important information.
In a Nutshell
While large families come with many responsibilities, they are often the happiest. No matter the size of your family, you can keep and maintain a happy and organized home with healthy kids. You know your family best and what makes everyone tick, so all you need are a few tricks to establish a smooth-sailing home.