Be Happy Managing a Large Family with Lots of Kids

Be Happy Managing a Large Family with Lots of Kids


I love children and I have been thinking lately that having more than one or two might make me really happy. The problem is that it can also make you go entirely insane. But, it seems, there might be a way to have a big family and maintain sanity. These four simple rules should be able to help, at least a little.   Kids need three things to feel happy and content: relatedness, competence, and autonomy. Managing these three magic things together make for calm, happy children and not-insane parents. A win-win! Let’s see what we can do to insure everybody gets what they want and need.

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The morning doesn’t start when you wake up, it starts before you go to bed. There is a menu for breakfast and lunch (essentially all the options) and the kids can choose what they want to eat the next day before going to bed. The parents make sure all the food options on the menu are in the fridge and everyone makes sure that school clothes are clean and ready for the next day. No one needs to scramble around in the morning, yay!


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Create a morning checklist. These are all the things that HAVE TO happen in the morning. Parents can’t be yelling the same three things over and over again. Put it on a list, and use pictures if the children are too small to read. And no rewards, just a little box next to each item if they want to tick that they have completed the task. These are things that have to get done, they are not actions that require rewards.


Wake up just a little early. Wake the kids up a little early too, so that the morning is not hectic, tense or loud. Go over to each of their beds and wake them up gently, kindly, calmly. Scratch their backs, snuggle them awake. Let them know it’s time to get moving and that you can help them if they need you.


As a parent, do hardly anything. Stay out of the way. Let your kids prepare the food that they have chosen to eat. Let them get on the clothes that they have chosen to wear the night before. This is their moment to be autonomous, so stay out of the way!

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