If you’re the parent of a growing family, you’ll be familiar with the juggles and struggles than can come with trying to accommodate and appease multiple family members. Raising a large family can come with a number of unique social and practical challenges – some of which have easier to fix answers than others. Below are five ways you can address challenges unique to growing families in a way which will enrich and preserve the harmony in your household.
Transporting your growing family becomes trickier as the number of members grows – especially with little ones. Finding ways to get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ in the least stressful manner possible becomes an artform.
Find a transport solution which suits your unique family situation. Bestowed with multiple small children? Twin and double prams will help lighten your load significantly, while also providing a stylish and practical way to keep your children safe.
If you’re the parent of several children and teens, you might want to consider upgrading your vehicle to one which can accommodate a wide range of situations – family holidays, sports endeavours, teaching children to drive. The number of different activities which involve transport for you and your family will only continue to grow as your family grows – so it’s best to plan and budget for the option which will best suit your growing needs.
Time and labour divisions should ideally be equal among family members – meaning that each parent should be given the same amount of ‘free’ time to destress, catch up with friends, and perform necessary activities which are for their own health and wellbeing. Prioritising self-care and mental health and well-being is an important part of raising a healthy family, and provides an opportunity to teach your children about managing time, expectations and self-esteem.
If there an imbalance in the amount of time each partner gets to spend attending to their own needs and leisure, this should be addressed before it becomes a growing source of conflict. Strive to reach a balance where each party feels their needs are being attending to, while also focusing on quality care and development of any children.
Try to not take on more with your time than you’re comfortable committing to. It’s far better to be able to complete one task successfully than it is to half-bake a number of tasks.
Where possible, find ways to schedule important appointments and meetings at times where more than one family member can be attended to. Children’s haircuts, doctor’s appointments and dental checkups can all be arranged so that multiple family members are seen to in the same timeframe, meaning that you can minimise the amount of days required to perform these necessary tasks.
Accept Help When It’s Offered
Too busy to cook up a large celebratory meal? Over-committed to kids’ activities and unable to finish important work? Don’t be afraid to ask parents and friends for a little bit of help when you need it most – whether it’s help babysitting, cleaning and sorting your home, or simply for company and time out when it’s all feeling like too much.
Keeping your support structures strong and open is an important part of raising a healthy family, and will ensure that you don’t feel alone and overwhelmed during periods of stress or upheaval.
Delegation Is Your Friend
There’s no rule which states that you (and/or your partner) have to complete every task and chore on the list. Delegation is a skill which is especially useful to growing families, as it creates both a sense of equality, and gives each person an equal amount of spare time.
Old fashioned rituals like developing a family roster and giving each able member a number of roles/duties will mean that the burden of work shifts from a central source to being more evenly spread across the family. Find ways to allocate duties to family members which will encourage their natural skills and talents – creative members may enjoy the challenge of cooking family meals, while those with a green thumb or an appreciation of animals may prefer to undertake garden duties or pet care tasks.
Balancing the needs of your growing family can seem overwhelming at times, but you can help remove some of the stresses from everyday tasks. Through implementing small (yet clever) changes you can ensure the lasting health, happiness and liveliness of your growing family unit.