|My Kids and I from L to R: Miss R, Mr. K, Miss A and Miss L
Be Prepared to Share Your Food (And Really Everything...)
I'm not sure the last time I was able to eat an entire meal without someone asking me if they could finish or eat something from my plate... From part of my salad, to finishing my grapes, to just one bite of my pork chop. It seems like I'm always being asked to share... But, I guess we're teaching our kids to share... So, I guess I need to do a better job of telling them Mom's food is off limits 😉
We are teaching our kids responsibility by having them take care of not only the house, but help on the farm and in our community. When it comes to teaching responsibility at home, make sure you get your kids involved in taking care of your house. I actually had a blog post drafted a couple years ago that I never published about chore charts, because by the time I was ready to publish it, I realized I didn't use chore charts anymore. We have a rule in our house that everybody pitches in. If something needs picked up, then whoever is close by is going to pick it up. Everyone helps with setting and clearing the kitchen table, everyone helps with diaper duty, etc. There is a way for everyone to get involved no matter how old they may be.
You Will Never Have Enough Hands
Think about it, you have two hands but have four kids... the math doesn't quite add up for being able to hold everyone's hands to help them out. But that is the glorious part of maybe instead thinking how you have lots of hands. I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "it takes a village to raise a child." I guess in a way My Farmer and I have created our own village and it is amazing to see how the older children naturally step up and their nurturing abilities take over, even as young as 18 months! All of our kids do a great job of playing and working together. They care deeply for one another and are willing and able to help each other out.
Now while going grocery shopping or crossing through a parking lot I still may wish My Farmer's extra hands were always there, we can and do make it work. It's all apart of taking care of our village.
Have a Daily Routine
I understand with kids you need to have some flexibility, but I believe with any number of kids - one or ten, you need to have a daily routine. We have a morning routine, a "quiet time" routine, a bedtime routine, and even a routine for leaving the house. This helps your children to know what to expect during their day, which leads them to simply functioning better, and resulting in being happy. And like I said, sometimes things get moved slightly and we might not have "quiet time" (aka naps for the younger kids and individual quiet play/activities for the older kids and Mom 😉) start as early as we want, but we do work it in everyday.
One is an Accessory, Two is a Lifestyle, so Four is...
My Farmer always says the saying that "One is an Accessory, Two is a Lifestyle." It's true, when you have just one kid it's simple to bring them wherever you go, traveling (with or without your child) isn't a huge deal, and while yes you have some toys, you have toys for one developmental stage and for one child. Add in baby number two and you realize that your children become part of your lifestyle. Now while we still bring our kids to most places with us, there are times and situations that we realize that we either need to find a sitter or stay at home. Traveling with a van full of kids takes a bit more patience and a bit more strategy than just one, and getting away and traveling without your kids also takes more organization and commitment. And toys - we have toys for four different developmental stages. My advice with that is try to get activities that work for more than one kid. I will also add that we have a rule in our house that no matter who received the toy, game, etc. anyone can play with it. It's not "just mine"; everyone can use it.
Lots of Love
In the end, the best part or truth of having four kids is that there is lots of love in your home. Love from parent to child, child to child, and parent to parent. I never have to worry about going a day without kisses and hugs from everyone. Build up your family's love by making your own traditions - from Friday Night Pizza & Movie Night, to Birthday Waffles, to Family Date Nights. Always be building on your foundation of love.
What truths of parenting would you add? Remember to Comment for a Cause!