Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Keeping Up with a Larger Family

"How do you do it all?"

It's the question every mother of a larger family has been asked dozens of times. 

During those busy years as a young mother, it may seem that you can't possibly handle one more thing, especially if that "one more thing" requires diaper changes and burping. Seven kids? I can't do it! 

The truth of the matter is that I don't do it all. Instead, I am blessed to have many helping hands to lighten the load. Please believe me when I say that, sooner than you would dream possible, your little ones will be helping you with many of the tasks that seem so overwhelming today.

Here are a few tips, from my busy home to yours:

Laundry
From about the age of ten, I am comfortable having a child do their own basic laundry. Special clothing, such as white shirts, can be set aside for Mom to handle. Children who aren't old enough to use the washer alone can fold and put away their own clean clothes. Even a three-year-old can usually fold the washcloths while an older sibling folds the towels.

Kitchen
Each of our three older children is responsible for doing the dishes, washing the table, and sweeping the floor after one meal each day. Sometimes they voluntarily go the extra mile and do the things I consider "my" job, such as cleaning the counters and stovetop.

All five of the school-age children are able to help with cooking. The oldest ones are able to grill burgers, prepare casseroles, make pancakes or eggs, and quite a variety of other dishes. Even my nine-year-old son can fix hot dogs for lunch, a huge help to a busy homeschooling momma!

Little ones are proud of their ability to set the table, put away the silverware, and similar tasks.

Cleaning
Each child has a specific room or assignment for which they are responsible each day. While our home will never be picture perfect, it is usually reasonably neat and comfortable, primarily because of this daily help from the children.

Caring for Younger Siblings
In larger families, it is absolutely crucial that everyone pitches in and helps with the younger ones. From entertaining the baby during school time, to changing diapers, to putting a toddler down for a nap, older children benefit from the responsibility and close bonds of nurturing their younger siblings. It brings such joy to see the baby's face light up when one of her older brothers or her sister picks her up to play!

I'd love to hear your tips on keeping up with a larger family! What works for you?

3 comments:

  1. This is so encouraging. I have a 3 year old and 1 year old and some days I can't get anything done! It's so hard to imagine life otherwise! :) It is getting a little easier though. My oldest helps with little things, and they're really starting to play together more which is nice. Not that I want them "outta my hair"! I love spending time with them! But it's definitely hard to get things done sometimes!

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  2. In those early days, it is SO hard to imagine that you will ever have time to eat a meal or get a shower without interruption! :-) I can promise you, though, that you'll be amazed at the difference that each year brings.

    Thanks so much for stopping by today, Catie--it's much appreciated!

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