|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!
I can't imagine wrangling 4 kids before going anywhere, but I am the oldest of 6 so you wouldn't think it would be that foreign of a concept ;-) I catch myself coming and going sometimes with 1. But I love seeing your 4!ReplyDelete
There's a reason why most of us only get one at a time I figure. It helps build up our endurance ;)Delete
I four children as well. I also had them over six years. They are 15, 13, 10, and 9. They are the best of friends and can be the worst enemies! I wouldn't trade it for the world. My favorite farmer and I are truly blessed:)ReplyDelete
I think all siblings know how to push each others buttons... I love that you have four kids in six years.Delete
I agree 100% with all of your comments. We keep growing and changing as our family grows and changes. We tried chore charts but realized they need to learn to just function in life and not everything in life is on a chart. If they can download an IPad app then they can load the dishwasher! Our kiddos are also the best of friends. Parking lots, stores, church, restaurants all can be exhausting but it gets easier every day. I wouldn't trade the chaos of 3 for the ease of a single child for the world.ReplyDelete
Love it Hayley! I too wouldn't trade it for world either.Delete
I also have 3 girls and a boy so i agreel completely and love this articleReplyDelete
Love it. Thanks!Delete
Parenting is one of the toughest jobs, yet most rewarding. Those activities, responsibilities and community things will be appreciated through the years. Although wrangling everyone up to go may be a challenge, but well worth it in the long run. Great post!ReplyDelete
Exactly. Thanks Sara!Delete
Great advice, Val!ReplyDelete
I enjoyed this post very much. I grew up with 3 foster children and we were all within 2 yrs of each other. Routine definitely helps to keep order and peace. It is refreshing to see a mother who enjoys it and loves her children as opposed to the kind who are always complaining about them.ReplyDelete
Thanks Karen and Gerard! Routine is definitely what helps our entire family!Delete
A great, timeless post!ReplyDelete
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