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What About the Future?
Growing up or raising a large family is a most exciting experience. It is fun, it is stressful, it’s never boring, it’s challenging, it’s tremendously time and effort consuming, it’s extremely rewarding—you name it.
But at the end of the day, when you sit down with your loved one and a bunch of kids over a homemade chantilly cake, or some other favorite family dessert, you have this feeling. The absolute majority of parents, raising four or more children claim that no matter what, it’s worth it.
And yet, a large family can be stressful if you don’t organize your time and efforts. Here are a few tips that can help make your life managing a big family more fun and less troublesome.
Maintain a calendar.
With several kids going to school or kindergarten, and then doing activities, logistics alone can be a full time job. In addition to a full time job you might already have. There are usually so many things to do everyday, drive here, pick up someone there, all the visits, school-related things, not to mention chores; you simply won’t be able to keep track of everything. Keeping a calendar will rid you of a major headache. It may be wise to put absolutely everything in your calendar, right down to laundry days, and dinners out.
Make sure you have a kid-friendly version of your calendar, so that everyone takes part. It could be a chalkboard, or sticky notes on your fridge.
Getting into a Routine
Getting into a routine makes a hectic life with a bunch of kids much more predictable and stable. Besides, most studies agree that a routine lowers stress levels and anxiety. It will also settle the kids when they know what to expect from your day. Schedule weekly shopping mall trips, or bake out nights where you make something like fried shrimp together with your family. Set up a fixed time when kids have to be in bed every day, and when they have meals. It will be immensely helpful in organizing your days.
No one can be everywhere, and do everything, so don’t even try. You have enough on your hands—and when you have more than three kids, and each of them wants to do a different thing on the weekend, and each still needs chaperoning, you won’t make it possible, even if you’re a Santa Clause.
Stay on top of laundry.
With a large household full of kids, laundry poses a very serious challenge. And yet, with a bit of creative arrangement, it can be done. The important thing is to involve the kids. Even the little ones can keep a laundry basket, sort and fold socks and underwear when they’re clean, and help with the loading.
Color coding is a great way to make chores and important things more visible, and easily comprehensible for kids.
Plan meals. Planning your meals for the week ahead doesn’t just solve the problem of deciding what to cook for dinner. It also can save you a hefty amount of money when doing grocery shopping, because having a plan, and a list at hand you won’t be buying things on a whim. Cooking ahead is also a good idea. For instance, you can cook a double portion of no boil lasagna on Sunday, and take the leftovers to work the next day.
Organize the Chaos.
No need to clean up everything all the time, but sorting out a room, or a space at a time is a great way to keep the entire house generally organized.
Support Groups and Websites.
Sometimes it gets so dire; you just have to whine and rant to someone who understands. There are plenty of support groups out there, where parents with similar joys and problems can share and support each other, and most importantly, find understanding, because they face the same things.
A large family is a blessing. It comes with a lot of challenges, but the advantages are also there. Your kids always have their siblings to hang out with. Growing up with siblings teaches a person to communicate, find compromises, and share. Large family get togethers are some of the funnest things people usually name when they’re asked what makes them happy. Here’s hoping that your family brings you a ton of joy, and our tips might help make your life easier.