Tuesday, August 4, 2015

10 Tips to Cut the Chaos when Raising a Large Family

When you're raising a large family, it's really easy to begin feeling overwhelmed. You're responsible for so many little beings, not to mention, there's the dishes, laundry, dinner, shopping, work, and finding time for showering and a second to relax. If you aren't careful, it can seem like you're living in a constant state of chaos, which will not only impact your own sanity, but trickle throughout the family causing unnecessary stress. Thankfully, there are simple tips you can use that will have a huge impact on how smoothly your household runs.

Here's some simple ways you can cut the chaos when raising a large family.

1. Get Organized
Organization is key!! If you have a big family, your house and your life needs to be organized. This involves more than just organizing the kitchen cupboards. You need to organize your days and think of ways to simplify your life. For example, every child needs some place to put their shoes so you aren't spending 30 minutes every morning trying to find a lost shoe.

Also, organize your time. Create a cleaning schedule and a schedule for your day so you can stay on top of things and your family will know exactly what's going to happen each day. It helps promote stability and functionality in a household.

2. Color Code EVERYTHING!!
My house is consumed with different colors marking what belongs to who and who has what to do. If you color code each child's personal space, like drawers, toy boxes, and even backpack hooks, it will make your life and their life so much easier. I also color code the calender to keep track of school stuff and extracurricular activities.

3. Meal Plan and Multiple
Cut the dinner rush by creating a meal plan each week and then stick to it. You'll know exactly what you're having for dinner that night, which will save you time and money. With a meal plan, you'll simplify your days while cutting costs because you'll get exactly what's needed throughout the week and not a bunch of extras. For even more savings, make twice as much and freeze half of it for a ready-to-go meal in the freezer for days life gets hectic. 

4. Cut the Clutter
When you have a lot of people in your home, clutter can quickly add up. Not only is clutter annoying and makes your house feel messy, but clutter also impacts stress levels. Make your home more comfortable, clean, and organized by cutting the clutter. We try to stick to the "out with the old" rule where every time we bring something new into the house, something old has to go.

5. Get Everyone on Board
There's a great benefit to having a lot of kids-- you have an in-home cleaning service. Not really, well...sort of. It's important to get everyone of board to help out with cleaning and tasks to get things done faster and to make less work for yourself so you have more time to spend with your family. Not to mention, it will teach your children responsibility and how to care for their selves in the future. 

6. Find One-on-One Time
Even though it seems like our to-do lists never end, it's important to spend one-on-one time with each kid. If you don't, not only will your children feel ignored and unimportant, but the result leads to cranky children who make your days harder. Children need one-on-one time or you're going to notice the consequences transform into acting out, fighting, arguing, and talking back. If they will do what ever they can to get your attention, which is often through bad behavior.

7. Buddy System
I LOVE the buddy system! Thankfully, we have an even number of children so it's easy to pair them off. We use the buddy system all of the time, especially when we go to the store or on vacation. Even at home, we use the buddy system every day. For example, I pair one of my older children up with my younger to go over flash cards, help put laundry away, and even put shoes on. It makes life so much easier. 

8. Prepare ahead of Time
One thing I've learned when raising a large family, is you have to be prepared, especially for the unexpected. Whether it's taking snacks with you while running errands, anticipating tired kids coming home from school, or planning to wake up earlier so you get out the door on time, you need to be prepared to reduce stress. 

9. Consolidate Errands
There's enough to do each day without having to worry about running errands. Errands take a huge chunk of time, time you don't have. If possible, dedicate one day a week to get all of your errands taken care of at once. This will save you time in the long run, plus you'll save on gas and have more time to spend with the family.

10. Don't Forget You're Married
It's so easy to get caught up raising a large family that you can forget your spouse. You're so busy taking care of the daily chores, running from child to child, and trying to find a second to sit down, but you need to plan time to spend as husband and wife. You need to make that just as important of a priority as spending time with your children.

Our lives are hectic, there's no doubt. But, you can take the chaos down a notch by using these simple and effective tips.

What tips do you have to cut the chaos when raising a large family?

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