According to the 2019 American Community Survey, the average family size has grown from 3.20 in 2007 to 3.23 in 2019. While this means families are growing, large families are still the exception from the rule.
If you have a large family, your life is filled with excitement, chaos, noise, but also joy and happiness to be raising so many kids. Though life in a large household isn’t always predictable, raising a large family is a rewarding experience.
Read on to discover 7 important parenting hacks for parents raising large families that are happy, healthy, and thriving.
1. Develop a Routine for Your Large Family
One of the best ways to manage and raise a large family is to develop a strong routine for the entire day. This also means having individual routines for every kid, and a family routine that everyone with follow.
For example, as soon as the kids come home from school, their routine can be to take off their shoes, coats, and backpacks and put them in their designated spots. The next step is washing their hands and face, getting changed, and putting their lunchboxes into the dishwasher.
Routines help the kids understand their role in a big family and teach them responsibilities and skills that’ll help them later in life. When everyone does their part, the day becomes easier for both the parents and the kids. You can also develop a morning routine before school so everyone can help prepare their lunches, have breakfast, and get dressed before heading out the door.
2. Give Everyone Age-Appropriate Chores
Life in a big family can get pretty messy so it’s important to give everyone age-appropriate chores. This way, every child can play its part in keeping the home (and their rooms) tidy and clean.
For example, if you have toddlers and preschoolers, they can’t do much in terms of helping, so you can pair them with an older child. For the older kids, you can do a weekly rotation of chores where each child is assigned a task for the week and only does that task.
Then, the next week you assign the chore to a different child so everyone has something to do.
3. Spend Time Alone With Each Child
A large family is a blessing, but each child has its own emotional needs and wants to spend time alone with the parents. Spending time with each child just the two (or three) of you will not only strengthen the bond but also help the child not feel lonely or neglected among the others.
Babies and toddlers will need more mommy time than the rest of the kids. You can also schedule activities you can do with each child, whether outside the house or inside. For example, you can go to their favorite dessert place, a toy store, the park, or do the child’s favorite activity together.
4. Find Games That All Kids Can Enjoy Together
The key to a little peace and quiet in a large family home is finding games and activities that everyone, no matter their age, can do together. This can be solving puzzles, playing board games, reading, and even controlled screen time of watching cartoons or TV shows.
The closer the kids are in age, the easier it’ll be to come up with fun activities. You can also do arts and crafts together, listen to music, dance, or go to the park for a family day out.
5. Plan Your Meals
Planning large family meals is a must if you want to make sure everyone is well-fed and getting their nutrients. If you have picky eaters in the family, you can assign a day to cook their favorite meals.
Also, talk to your kids for ideas and make sure everyone agrees to eat the meal suggested so you don’t have to think about what to cook each day. Rotate the same meals each week so that everyone is happy and you don’t have to cook separate meals for the picky eaters.
6. Plan an Epic Family Vacation
Life in a large family can be chaotic, so vacations for large families are a must at least once a year, both for the parents and the kids.
Planning a vacation for so many people can be stressful, so as soon as you have a destination in mind, start planning your family getaway. Make sure the hotel or vacation rental can accommodate a big family and there are enough activities and things to do for everyone.
Renting a big house near the beach or an apartment close to a playground is best if you have more than 3 kids. During the trip, plan for short breaks so the kids can stretch their legs, have lunch, or go to the bathroom. You can also listen to podcasts, audiobooks, sing songs together, or talk about what you’ll do on your vacation.
Depending on the length of the trip, make sure to pack enough snacks and on-the-road activities for everyone. Whenever someone gets bored, tired, or cranky, these can be a lifesaver and help you and the kids cope with stress better.
7. Schedule Quiet Time
In large families, chaos is the default, which is why you should schedule quiet time for all kids, not just the little ones. While they read, nap, play, or do puzzles, you can get some work done around the house or take some rest yourself.
Make sure to schedule quiet time when everyone is at home. You can also divide the kids into groups for quiet time so they can do the same activities or take naps at the same time.
If you have little ones and want to supervise them while they nap, get a baby monitor. Make sure to read baby monitor reviews before you buy as not all monitors are safe and of good quality.
These Parenting Hacks Are Perfect for Raising Large Families Like Yours
Raising large families are a lot of work and dedication, but the time and effort you spend to give your kids everything is well worth it. Though every day is different and the house is always messy, the laugher and closeness you share are all you need to be happy.
Want more parenting and family life tips? We invite you to read the rest of the articles we’ve written on these topics and find your balance while raising happy kids.