As a mother of possibly four kids after our adoption process is complete and a minimalist at heart, I’ve been doing a lot of research on how to parent so many children with different needs and personalities while maintaining a slower and intentional pace of life. Parenting just one child is a massive undertaking. But parenting four or more? That’s a whole new level.
Mothers seem to manage it, though! According to parenting expert Andrea Nair, mothers of multiple kiddos tend to be the most relaxed — letting their kids be kids while they’re at the park or running errands. For these supermoms, nothing seems to perturb their happy spirits. The question for the rest of us is “how do they do it?”
Nair recently asked her Facebook community to chime in and give their advice for looking after four or more kids. Here are some of the things that they said.
1. Create “Systems” And Trust Them
You might not think that parenting is the sort of thing that is amenable to “systems.” But you’d be surprised by just how much of the job can be automated. This is what I have spent the last couple weeks diving into. Nothing in my life was automated before, but now I am looking for every way to automate my life and role as a mother.
Take bedtimes for instance. Bedtime has been a challenge for parents everywhere. Like early mornings and mealtimes, bedtimes need structure. They should begin with some trigger, like the end of a family dance party in my house or the dimming of the lights while we do a slow yoga routine filled with poses and affirmations such as “I am strong” “I am brave” “I am kind” etc. There should also be some form of excitement for going to bed. If you look at some beds, like Cuckooland kids beds, you’ll notice how appealing they are for children. Many have bright designs or are shaped like little hideaways.
According to Nair, creating routine is essential. It’s what creates space for the fun things in life and lets a family thrive.
2. Everybody In The Home Helps Out
When you’ve got just one or two children, it’s hard work. But most parents manage to do all the chores themselves. When you’ve got four or more children, that simply isn’t possible, and the kids themselves have to chip in. Older children, in particular, have to learn how to do certain things in families with lots of kids if they want their needs to be met. Check out this printable chore list for kids of all ages if you are looking for ways to get your kids to take more responsibility within the home.
3. Kids Must Be Trusted
Trusting your children’s judgment might seem a little daunting at first. But according to Nair’s Facebook moms, it’s something we should all be doing a little more. Moms of four are forced to give their children the space to fail. But children learn from these failures and eventually become adept problem-solvers. In other words, moms of four or more allow their kids to find their own feet and explore the world in their own homes. Mothers don’t – or can’t – stand over their children’s shoulders every minute of the day making sure that they are doing things the “right” way.
4. They Love Village Parenting
Finally, moms with lots of children pass over some of the responsibility of raising them to other people. You’ve heard the expression “it takes a village to raise a child.” Well, moms of four or more believe it wholeheartedly and let older children or other people in their neighborhood or family take up the slack from time to time. This doesn’t mean they pawn their children off on others any chance they get, but it does mean they aren’t afraid to admit they need help!
Mamas of four or more kiddos, give me your best tips in the comments! I’m hoping to need them soon 🙂