Adopting a Large Family Mentality When You Are a Small Family

In my large family birthdays post, I alluded to the fact that we adopted a large family mentality long before we were a large family.  That fact alone, revolutionized our home life.  Ever since then, I’ve found it important to tell other families how acting like a large family even when they are not can make a tremendous difference in their lives.

Why I adopted a large family mentality:
It happened simply because I began to desire a large family.  Because of this desire, I began frequenting large family sites on the internet and the real-life homes of people who had large families.  I observed.  I asked questions.  I mimicked.

What happened when I adopted a large family mentality?:
My husband was deployed at the time, so the most obvious difference was that my day was much more streamlined and easier to manage.  The second thing I noticed was that my children were happier.  I also realized I was more content as well.

Where did I start?:
I started with a Bath Routine.  It was a simple place to start and easy to implement.  I’ve been using the same bathing schedule for 8 years now!

What types of large family things can a small family implement?:
Just about anything!  I’d encourage you to peruse the Large Family Living section of this blog, and also consider these things…

  • Share bedrooms
    Large families do this because they have to, but it builds such camaraderie between siblings, I suggest it to everyone.
  • Color Code
    I shared on Wednesday how we color code our children.  This is something that will build efficiency in any size household.
  • Give the Children Chores
    Require work from them.  This builds responsibility and character and teaches them that a household is held together by the entire family and not just one person.  Here is an age appropriate chore list to get you started.
  • See Them as Blessings
    It is nearly impossible to accept God’s leading in your family size and not see your children as blessings.  Start enjoying them for who God made them to be.  Revel in their crooked smiles and open-mouthed kisses.  See them as God sees them…not as something you must do for the next 18 years, but as someone you’ve been blessed with for an eternity.  When God says they are a reward, believe Him!

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35 thoughts on “Adopting a Large Family Mentality When You Are a Small Family

  1. Thank you SO much for this advice! We are just beginning to develop a Large Family mentality and this is just the encouragement I needed. We’re excited to watch our family grow with as many blessings as the Lord desires for our family.

  2. Such a great post! We only have three children, but sometimes I get to thinking how I would order my day if I had 7!I wanted 7 children, actually) I love big families with lots of children and I think we could all learn much wisdom from those that have them!

  3. I’ve been reading here, just haven’t taken the time to comment! I enjoy your blog!! :)
    .-= Tanya – Lilyofthevalley´s last blog ..Horse Treats =-.

  4. My mom only had 3 of us but she did many things as though we were a much larger family because we were very poor and she was very sick and bedridden for a good part of my childhood. I think as a result, I have automatically done some things “large-family-style” because I grew up that way and know firsthand how well it works. I’ve always hoped to be blessed with a large family but my husband doesn’t see things quite the same way. “We” are planning for 4 kids and #3 is due in September. So our family won’t really be ‘small’ with 4 kids, but I joyfully soak in the amazingness of my children and wonder if my heart wouldn’t always long for ‘just one more’ even if I had 14 kids…
    .-= Mama Mirage´s last blog ..The solution is… – Toddler Tales Tuesday =-.

    • Thanks so much! The more children you have the easier it is to just stay home and streamline because a “want to” becomes a “need to”. Congratulations on your #3! :)

    • You know, I still feel like a small family even though we are now the size of the families I was looking to for information! There is still so much I can glean from families bigger than my own. I’m honored that smaller families want to mimic what we do, but I also know I will never feel as though I have “arrived.” lol

  5. Loved this post. We have 3 kiddos through adoption and our 2 girls share a room. One is 8 months, the other is 3 years. I love listening to them “chat” with each other when they go to bed. People keep asking if we’re going to buy a house with more bedrooms and I say, “no, I like that they share a room.” Would love to adopt another boy and then they could share a room. :)

  6. Haha, have you been spying on me? Love this post, its exactly what I do it makes life so much better! I have 2 kids, but hoping for many more!

  7. I now have four children and I am definitely finding that I need a large family mentality with four, even though I don’t consider four to be a large family!

    Thankfully life isn’t quite so full on as it is with a truly large family as I am just not “up to” keeping on top of it with wonderful efficiency yet. Something I hope I am growing into.
    .-= Liz´s last blog ..Please hold… =-.

  8. Hello Amy! =)

    My husband just found your blog the other day and we’ve enjoyed reading through your site! We are very like-minded with you from what we’ve seen – that’s encouraging always to come across, hm? I especially loved your post on adopting a large family mentality when you’re a small family. That’s exactly what we did when we were just starting out with 2 kids and we read The Full Quiver book for the first time. We have 9 children now, and we’ve enjoyed such pleasure along the way because we did this very thing, taking on this mentality early. We would like to put your post on our large families blog, would that be okay with you? Blessings, Erika

    • Hello! That would be fine as long as it is only an excerpt that points back here as my articles are copyrighted. By the way, The Full Quiver is one of my favorite books! ;)

  9. Hello. I have 4 and am pregnant with number 5. I feel myself struggling through parts of the day. For example, bedtime story-time…I want to read stories to/with my kids at bedtime. They could all use the help to wind down. The oldest 2 are ready to hear chapter books. My preschooler cannot focus on chapter books, yet and still needs picture books while my 14 month old can barely focus on board books. I can’t figure out how to do 3 different story times especially when the 3 oldest share a room. How do you do story-time?
    Thanks

    • Hi Jennifer! We read one book. Right now that book is from the Little House on the Prairie series. Daddy also read from the Bible one chapter. The 2 yo does not sit still and look at the book, but he is expected to be quiet and play nearby. My 13 month old is already in bed. I do read younger kid books throughout the day, but nighttime isn’t time for a bunch of books except on rare occasions. Hope that helps. :)

  10. I guess I am on the end of the larger family, although once you get there it feels so normal and you are always ready for growth. I have 10 children here, 1 little boy in heaven, and 1 due in February.

    I feel like this is something I have always done, since we never had a lot by the world’s standards. I’ve always been so thankful of that. We were always used to being frugal, even before it was trendy. Using vinegar as a #1 cleaner was just what you did because it made sense:)

    When the economy started going down, I believe we were hurting less than those who had a habit of “living large”, nothing really changed for us.

    For holidays, we always have something special or do something special, but we never got our children used to an obscene amount of presents or doing things a certain way. It has definitely paid off. It’s nice to have traditions, but not when you feel obligated to them, and logically they aren’t pracitcal anymore.

    Thank you for this post!

    Sara

    • We have done the same thing, and for the same reasons. We have always lived on less than many people we know and struggled with just that, but it has allowed for us to accept less and be frugal in a time where if we had the choice we wouldn’t have. For instance, when the kids were little, they did not receive new toys very often. I restricted it to birthdays and Christmas. This was mostly out of necessity. But I did see how it curbed their attitudes toward new things and years later I am so thankful for this!

  11. At four children we are between a large and a small family. I am finding that the large family mentality makes things run more smoothly. We have been debating putting our girls together. It will actually leave an empty room, but you make have pushed me over the edge! :)

    • All of our boys are in one room and we use the extra bedroom as the playroom/guest room. It has worked out so well for us…the boys are happy and feel safe and snug in their room together, the toy mess is contained and we have a space for guests and especially for Grandma when she babysits overnight. We would never go back to any of them being alone (basically we would have to move and who wants to do that when the house is paid for?) because this is a great way to grow up, in our opinion.

  12. I am the mother of 8 blessings here on earth, one in heaven and this is a wonderful read for me! We do things very similarly but seeing that someone else does things (like baths every other night and sharing bedrooms) somehow makes me feel like maybe I’m a little more normal than I thought! We don’t have any friends that have large families to compare with, so this really did my mommy heart good! Thanks for this post…

  13. This article is perfect – this is exactly what I need for where we are! Thank you! Your blog is such a blessing to me.

  14. Yes you can click links on each item but I find that the information is not really about stream lining. It’s hard to search through blogs in a way and I did spent time looking around in different subjects. But clicking on the link for cooking gets me the story of the kids cooking dinner, taco lasagna and corn bread for company. While interesting I’m looking more for tips on preparing lists, menus, monthly cooking, freezer meals. The laundry link did include one mom’s system. Hampers per room done on need to need basis. But I was interested in your system Also. If I didn’t read the info throughly or missed something that was clearly included or additional links that were easily accessible than pardon my ignorance.

  15. We are a small family of three children and we implement almost all of these. My three share one bedroom and wouldn’t do it any other way. They have many more chores than most other children their ages and are among the happiest kids that are out there! They know they are dearly loved and cherished and they are each other’s best friends. I’m praying for God to add to our family many times over and I know that the practices we have put into play now will bless our family in the future as well.

  16. I remember when I was a teenager and one of four girls in the house (all between the ages of 12 and 15!) my mom ran our house very efficiently! Each girl was assigned a laundry day, we all had shower caddies, we had weekly chore assignments and a shower schedule. Every Saturday we drew a room from a hat that was our resposibility to clean. Mom supervised and inspected. She said she wanted to teach us how to live outside the house as well as work together as a family. (I ended up teaching my husband how to do laundry cuz his mom did it all!)

    I know that I’d like to get to a similar point with my children, but they’re so young right now (ages 6 and 2) that its hard to figure out where to start! We didn’t grow up as a family of four; I was an only child until age 8 when my mom remarried, then we took in foster children when I was 12. I also didn’t come from a Christian family (but my husband and I are).

    I just found your website (my friend loves it!) so I’ll keep looking for more advice. But I’d love to know how you got your kids started on helping with chores. We homeschooled last year for kindergarten but are not continuing (as per my husband’s decision) so it was easier last year, but now I need to think also about how much time I’m requiring of my very distracted 6 year old in helping with daily chores. (He moves VERY slow! Lol). I definitely want his help every day in some small manner because I want him to see himself as part of a family that works together.

    • Yes, absolutely keep him helping! I’ve seen families send their children to school away from home and then drop all chores from the child’s plate. That is not helpful (says one who experienced this first hand!) Sounds like I could have learned a thing or two from your mom, though! Let me see if I can work up a post on actually starting the process of having children help out. :)