These tips for raising large families are super easy to put into place. And once you start using them, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without them!
When you’re the CEO (read: Mom) of a large family, people tend to assume one of two things about you: Either you have it all together (much more than they ever could!)…or you’re a hot mess.
The truth is that large family Moms are pretty much like the rest of the members of the Mom club. They come in all shapes and sizes.
Whether you lean more towards Pinterest perfect or lovable chaos, all of us would love to add more tricks to our bag for raising large families. So here’s a great list of quick and easy ideas you can put into place to make your life with a large family flow more smoothly.
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Quick Tips for Raising Large Families
Most of these ideas are things you can put into place right away. They’ve been working for our family of 7 for years. In fact, many of the tips listed here will work for families of any size.
1. Big Messes
Is the living room a disaster? Have everyone pick up 20 things. At any point in the day, make an announcement for everyone to pick up 20 things. You’ll clean up in no time.
- Make sure they choose 20 things they know how to put away. Some of mine are notorious for choosing the one item in the room they don’t know what to do with and walking around with it for 5 minutes. (Why??)
- One puzzle does not count as 20 things. But you might count 20 scraps of paper as good enough.
2. Weekly Chore Rotation
We have a list of four chores (I don’t include kids on this list until they’re 5 years old). Each child does one chore for an entire week. On Sundays, we move the clothespin names down to the next chore.
For us, the chores are help in the barn, set and clean up the table, feed the dogs, and sweep the dining room floor. The 4 year old is usually eager to help, so we pair him with an older child so he can help them for the week and learn how to do individual chores.
3. Keep Up With the House
I’m not going to pretend that my home stays spotless. (Yikes!) I try to keep it several steps away from an episode of Hoarders by joining an encouraging group.
I’ve used the Flylady’s methods in the past. But if you find her stuff a bit overwhelming, you might get more out of this Make Over Your Mornings course from Money Saving Mom. (I HATE mornings, but I loved this course! It really helped me get more out of my days.)
Ugh!! I hate folding socks. Keep it simple by color coordinating socks for each child. (I’m not suggesting that Sally should always wear yellow socks!)
I buy Hanes socks from Target or Meijer. The small letters on the bottom of the sock are different colors for different sizes. My 4 year old gets the green letters, one kid gets blue, another gets red.
If you have kids that are close in size, you might put one in white socks and the other in black socks.
I’m all for saving money, but I don’t mind a mini splurge if it will make my life easier for months!
5. Listen to Podcasts
While you’re doing chores around the house, listen to podcasts. Find one your whole family can learn from or be inspired by. You might follow someone who will teach you something you’ve always been interested in.
You’ll probably be super interested in this podcast by large family mom Amy from Raising Arrows.
6. Routine, Not Schedule
Routines are essential to raising large families. Remember that a routine is different from a strict schedule! Get more ideas on how to develop a routine for your large family here.
If you get the chance to run an errand while someone else is watching the kids (maybe a spouse or older child), take just one kid along. You’ll get some extra one on one time with them. A ride in the car often gets my kids talking about life because
they’re trapped uh, there’s plenty of empty time to fill. 😉
8. Small Tasks
I know, we’re in the habit of doing it all ourselves. It’s just easier to do it than to delegate. But try this instead: all day long, write down the small tasks you were getting ready to do. When you have enough on your list to assign one or two per child, ask them to help.
Remember that there are lots of chores in a big house, because there are lots of people adding to the work load. It’s fair to ask them to help out with the work. And none of this has to take anyone very long to do.
9. When Assigning Small Tasks…
Start with the youngest. Give them the first task…the biggest thing on your list that they can handle at their age. Remember, three or four year olds can be paired with an older child (or with you, Mom!) to learn how to do small things like folding washrags.
10. Fun and Games
11. Screen Time
Struggling to keep track of who is spending too much time on their phones? Try a free app like Qustodio. It will help you monitor how much time they spend on screen time. Plus you can block them from things you don’t want them to see. We’ve been using it for months and the results have been great.
12. Color Code Everything
Use color coded zip ties on zippers to keep track of boots, coats, and gloves. As you buy replacement items, get them in your children’s favorite colors.
At a glance you can tell who didn’t put their bowl away, who left shoes on the floor, and who can’t seem to hang up their towel.
13. Easy Declutter
Ask every kid to run to their room and bring you one item that is broken, doesn’t fit, or they just don’t love anymore. Repeat as necessary. (One thing at a time will make it easy for them to part with things.)
14. Avoid Fast Food
Keep two meals on hand that are super easy. Whether that looks like a tray of homemade lasagna in the freezer or a bag of frozen chicken nuggets is up to you. Either one will keep you from ordering pizza.
15. Scale Laundry Mountain
Have a laundry folding party!! Dump your clothes in the living room and have the whole family sit around the pile and fold.
Play some tunes, have some fun…you might even end the evening with underwear on a lampshade!
16. Chop It
Get thee a set of kitchen shears. Use them to chop up bite sized foods for younger kids. Much easier than fighting a fork and knife while your food gets cold!
17. Toss It
In busy seasons of life, use paper plates without guilt. Real plates take water and energy to clean, so they aren’t completely free. And your sanity is worth a few dollars.
It’ll quiet them down for a little while anyway. *Know that you’ll have to get close enough to catch their attention before they notice.
19. Use Assignments
From assigned seats to assigned areas of the house to clean, it makes everything easier! If you find homework lying on the floor, you’ll know which dining room chair you can set it on to make sure that child finds it when they get home.
You can let them trade spots each month to shake things up. My kids are totally comfortable using the same assigned seat forever, though.
20. Menu Planning
Have each child write down two meals they want to eat for the next week. Instead of starting with an annoying blank piece of paper, you simply go through the list and choose the meals that fit your nutritional values. Choose foods that are in season for the best prices.
You may have to add another idea or two, but most of the work will be done! Use this handy list of cheap meals for large families for ideas.
These simple tips for raising large families will make life easier!
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Do you have a favorite quick tip for raising a large family? Tells us about it!