What you consider a big family is subjective; if you come from a family with eight kids, a family with three children might seem like a wonderfully calm prospect. If you grew up as an only child, the thought of having two siblings might seem hectic. The majority of American families have one or two children. Around 4.79 million families had three children in 2021.
Big families have big things to consider, like family finances, living arrangements, transportation of family members to school, extra-curricular events, and social events. This article will discuss how to keep your home running smoothly so you can enjoy your big family without feeling overwhelmed.
Table of Contents
What should you consider for your house?
Plan out the grocery shopping hauls: Trips to the grocery store can easily become a dreaded task. Here are a few tips to help maintain your household budget:
- Plan meals ahead of time. Lean on apps like Pinterest and TikTok for recipe ideas, and put all of the ingredients you’ll need for a week’s meals on your grocery list. Doing this all at once will help cut down the last-second trip to the store for one forgotten item. Having everything on hand makes it easier to prepare meals in advance, giving you a huge leg up on the week while giving your family a warm, home-cooked meal each night.
- Try to purchase shelf-stable items, like pasta, chickpeas, canned tomatoes, etc. at warehouse stores. This will help you save money and reduce grocery store trips.
- It’s not always in the cards, but leave the kiddos at home whenever possible. Distractions, pleas for snacks, and tired little feet all make your life harder and can drive up your grocery bill.
Everyone helps: Not only will delegating tasks help you from feeling overwhelmed and frazzled, but it’s also great for teaching life skills.
- Even the tiniest youngster can help with something. Putting toys away, cleaning up their room, etc. will help them to build confidence and learn responsibility and maturity.
- As your children grow, ensure their tasks are becoming more advanced. While cleaning your room is a good task for a four-year-old, a 16-year-old should be responsible for commonly used areas, not just their own space.
- Giving each family member a set of responsibilities eases the burden on parents while reinforcing the idea that a family needs to function together to be happy and successful.
Sleeping arrangements: Sleeping arrangements can be a point of tension, especially as teenagers seek more independence. There’s plenty of room for creativity in home organization.
- Murphy beds – These handy beds easily fold up into a storage cabinet on the wall during the day, allowing for plenty of play space in the room.
- Bunk beds with storage – Many bunk beds are designed with storage solutions in mind. This can give you a ton of storage for off-season clothes, sports gear, etc.
- Walk-in closets – In a pinch, a large walk-in closet can be converted into a bedroom. There likely won’t be a window, but privacy might outweigh the need for a window, especially for teenagers. Just make sure they’re getting plenty of time outside.
- Room dividers – While these don’t mitigate noise, they can help make a portion of a room feel more private. If you’re a parent of teens, you’ll understand the value of the room divider.
Tackle chores together: If you can swing a full-time cleaner, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Most of us will have to make do with delegating to our family members to keep the house clean. But there are ways to manage multi-person household chores. You can separate chores from daily, weekly, and monthly to make them less overwhelming.
Having a printable calendar or a chalkboard wall where you can assign chores to each family member every week can help everyone stay accountable and on track, though this can be tough when you’re coordinating multiple schedules. Put it in a high-traffic area like the kitchen where everyone can see it. If you have an updated calendar with chores assigned, you’ll get a clean house where everyone collaborates to keep it tidy on a daily basis.
Organization and home projects
Have a routine: Calendars help with organization and are great when it comes to family financial planning, too. Those big bills won’t sneak up on you if they’re in your shared calendar well ahead of due dates.
Create a play space in the house: Space can be a hot commodity for large families, but giving your kids a dedicated play space is a great way to control clutter, encourage creativity, and separate bedtime from playtime.
Decluttering should be a priority: Decluttering doesn’t mean you have to live in a starkly minimalist home, but rather. Set aside a weekend a couple of times per year to donate things that your family has outgrown, put away seasonal items, and keep things looking clean and tidy.
Store wisely: Storage solutions can mean the difference between a messy, cluttered home and a calm, organized one. The environment in your home sets the tone for each day, so some strategic storage can help those hectic mornings and chaotic after-school hours feel more under control for both you and your kids. Some great options to keep things tidy are beds with storage underneath, labeled bins at the main door for each kiddo, designated hooks for backpacks and coats, and furniture with storage.
Night-before preparation: Cut down on school morning craziness with some routine prep work each evening before bed. Get the kids to help with lunches, setting clothes out, setting the breakfast table, etc. Anything that can help the morning go smoother will be a welcome relief to everyone.
Money stretcher hacks
Inheriting clothing and toys: Kids outgrow clothing, and the excitement around a new toy wears off quickly. Using secondhand items is a great way to save money and live more sustainably. For larger families, handing down clothing from older siblings can work great. Another option is to organize a clothing trade with another family with similar-aged children. That way, your kiddos get new things and you avoid the complaints that come with feeling like they only get their older siblings’ hand-me-downs.
Holidays shouldn’t break the bank: Stays at luxury hotels in bougie vacation spots are generally more for the parents than the kids. Family vacations for children are about creating core memories that will stay with them for a lifetime. They’re about spending time together, doing fun activities, and family bonding. Camping, renting a cabin, getting a good Airbnb deal, and going on day trips to national parks or other attractions are all great ways to bring your family closer together and create lasting memories.
Opt for a frugal lifestyle: Big families come with their own built-in entertainment. Do more with less, from game nights, themed dinners at home, and movie nights, adopt a frugal lifestyle for having fun without spending a lot of money, and bring the family closer together without breaking the bank.
Carpooling to school: This is a money and time saver. The kids can carpool when other neighborhood kids go to the same school. This saves money and might be a lifesaver when the kids are in different schools that start at the same time.
Take advantage of coupons and discounts: Spend time finding coupons, discounts, and promo codes online. Here’s a list of websites with printable coupons for groceries stores, online groceries, promo codes, and discounts for many other home goods:
|Grocery Coupon Network
How to balance home life
Have a weekly parents-only moment: It can be easy to forget to take time for your relationship away from your little ones. Make a point of having time away each week that’s just for you and your partner. It might only be half an hour, but prioritizing couple time helps you connect with your partner so you can present a happy, united front with your family. You don’t need an overly planned date night; even just a walk through a forested path or a stop at a new brewery to check out their selection is a great way to get out in the world together and connect.
After-school activities are your ally: After-school activities used to be restricted to just a few common things, like football, basketball, hockey, language classes, or music lessons. These days, the options are nearly endless, and children with all kinds of interests can find after-school groups that cater to their passions and help them learn new things. This is great for giving them a transition activity while you finish work and get home, and they also get to socialize with kids outside of their school groups and learn new skills. It might take some time to find the activities that suit them best, but once they do, they’ll be happy to head to their favorite after-school activity.
Find parents or friends with similar interests/lifestyles: Finding friendships with other parents who have kids your age can be a huge help. You can rely on that community for parenting advice, tips, carpooling, play dates, vacations, and more. Not only is this great for helping to ease the logistical nightmare of having a big family, but it also gives you a much-needed support system and friendships with people who understand your life stage. Some days, that can be the biggest comfort of all.
Create a playdate group: Playdates are great because they allow other parents to get things done without taking little ones on errands with them. Putting together a group of families that each host a playdate once a week or month can help to give everyone some much-needed time to run errands, go to appointments, or just relax for an afternoon.
Multi-generational family living
Multi-generational living is on the rise, especially since the beginning of the pandemic. While financial constraints are the main root of this living situation, it does come with many benefits:
- Stronger family bonds – Many children grow up with one or two visits per year from grandparents that they’ll never really get to know well. Multi-generational living lets kiddos spend regular quality time with their grandparents, strengthening those bonds in a way that sporadic visits don’t do.
- Responsibility delegation – Delegating responsibilities is critical to keep a big family running, but more adults mean more capable hands to do things like drive, run errands, get groceries, etc.
- More adults can mean more income – More working adults in a home mean more income, and that can be a huge benefit of multi-generational living. During times of inflation and high cost of living, multiple incomes are especially welcome.
- More opportunities – It’s often overwhelming for busy young people to pursue a professional career. With more support at home, young people have the opportunity to work toward advanced degrees that lead to professional roles.
- Childcare – Any parent who’s struggled with reliable childcare can attest to the stress it can cause. Having multiple adults covering different times of day and subbing in for each other can make childcare organization much easier. Plus, your little ones bond with multiple family members they otherwise might only see once in a while.
- Better mental health – Stress is one of the biggest factors that can negatively impact mental health. With a well-developed support system in place and multiple family members to help ease daily task stress, much of that can be eased. This means better mental health, and that’s always a positive thing for you and other household members.
Along with the benefits that multigenerational living can bring, there are also drawbacks to this style of living, like less privacy, Increased tendency for family conflicts, or caregiver burnout. Below are a few things you can do to mitigate these potential pitfalls.
- Create separate spaces as well as common spaces for more privacy and alone time.
- Respect each other’s alone time, space, and boundaries.
- Communicate expectations and feelings openly and kindly.
- Create opportunities for caregivers to recharge.
- Incorporate intergenerational activities to boost bonding.
Big family homes are known for being warm, fun places, bursting with activity and laughter. Making sure that your home runs smoothly will let you enjoy all that hectic energy and laughter without feeling overwhelmed by an overly chaotic environment. With the tips above, you’ll be able to take in all of the great aspects of having a big family while keeping things running smoothly.