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What tips can you share with us?

(65 Posts)
MUM2BLESS Sat 23-Oct-10 10:56:11

I have four children which I would say is a meduim size family. I am one of seven myself.

What tips can you share with us about what you do to make things easier for your family and yourself.

My example:

My boys have sandwiches two days and dinners three days, it cuts down on the finances a bit. Every day they bring drinks from home rather than buying from the canteen.

On Saturday we engage all our four children in manageable chores which helps us as well as give them some responsibility.

My husband is a chef and is very domesticated. (I STILL HAVE TO COOK LADIES) but he does do his part. This is so helpful as my three sons see daddy cooking and helping in the home.

Have you got anything on this line to share whether tips to lighten the load or what your spouse does to help out.

slipperandpjsmum Sat 23-Oct-10 15:25:03

This may be one that everyone does but I have only just started cooking big batches of meals and then freezing them so there is always something healthy in the freezer. Working full time with four children its really helped.

MUM2BLESS Sat 23-Oct-10 20:33:06

Thanks for that slipperandpjsmum.

Anymore ideas to share!

slipperandpjsmum Sun 24-Oct-10 19:02:19

No problem MUM2BLESS you and I are often on the same threads I have noticed! Bump ....

gumblossom Mon 25-Oct-10 10:13:02

Hi. I've got 5 but only four living at home and find that having a jobs roster for the kids really saves on fights and "it's not fair" comments. The sorts of things on the roster include :walking the dog,putting on a load of washing and hanging it out(ages 10,13 and 17, not the 2 year old),the two older children cook a meal for the family once a week(they negotiate with me about what they'll cook),dishes.

When the living area becomes really untidy and I feel knackered we'll do a "20 minuter", where everyone helps out and we spend twenty minutes clearing up.It's amazing what you can achieve.

I use the slow cooker alot for family meals, with cheaper cuts of meat. We also have vegetarian 2 or 3 times a week, to help save money(I'm a SAHM, so not much extra cash).

I also do try to make a few things from scratch, but I know it's not for everyone - especially if you are working (before having my 5th, I worked fulltime). I make yoghurt, use a bread-maker and make cakes etc at home.
The kids enjoy baking too.

I think it's hard work having a large family, but so worthwhile, I do find you have to lower your standards a bit - it would be depressing trying to maintain a show-style home.

MUM2BLESS Tue 26-Oct-10 17:24:26

gumblossom thanks..

Are you from a large family yourself?

I like the bit about making things from scratch. My 2nd son made brownies today. I do not get one to one with my kids very often. My eldest is away and the 2 youngest were at a holiday club therefore I some time with my son.

Whats christmas like for you gumblossom?

Three of mine are now connecting on their nintendos, love when they do things together!!

MUM2BLESS Tue 26-Oct-10 17:25:42

I think I will start a new thread. Watch this space......

4andnotout Tue 26-Oct-10 17:25:43

My tip is to get a shed, it's a great place to hide grin

MUM2BLESS Tue 26-Oct-10 17:34:54

that made me laugh. Laughing is good medicine dont you think grin

I can imagine many would want to hide. At least there is never a dull moment!!

gumblossom Wed 27-Oct-10 02:16:25

Mum2bless, I am from a family with 4 kids, as is my DH. What always amazes me is that both our parents and in-laws think we are be excessive having a large family.They tried to talk us out of having our third! Not sure how they'll react when (if) I announce my 6th pregnancy! I actually don't let it worry me.They do so little to help us out, so I can't understand what their objections are.

Christmas is fine, my kids know we can't afford big ticket items and they just love the gifts they get. They really enjoy all the other aspects of christmas - the special lunch, decorations, christmas lights, seeing other relatives. We try to make it about all of that instead of being about gifts. I also do a "kris-kringle" type of thing with the kids - they pull a name(of a sibling) out of a hat and then spend a small amount (say $10 -$20 Australian) on each other. I give them the money, then they can spend their pocket money on a little something for their dad and me!

MUM2BLESS Wed 27-Oct-10 10:22:24

Lovely ideas gumblossom!!

As mentioned I am one of seven. I dont think we were as demanding as the kids today. Lots of things are in your face ie adverts etc.

We played together and also played outside also. Not so much tv as children watch today.

Somethings I am hot on with my kids, brushing their teeth well (had lots of dental work done myself), manners, being grateful, doing home work. We also try to take our kids out whenever possible. We are quite an out going family, love to see whats happening around me and take the kids out to play schemes, holiday club, bridgade etc.

You kinna do some things you did as children with your children and also the things you did not get to do for whatever reason.

Any more ideas, I am still learning!!!

We also try to have family meetings every now and then. Talk about certain things and let the kids talk also. Its an opportunity to let them know when they are doing well and also what needs doing better.

As a child we never had much toys etc but we had times of fun together.

ComeWhineWithMe Wed 27-Oct-10 10:35:00

I have six (1 boy and 5 girls).

Some of my tips are -

Bulk buy knickers and socks. grin

I use the slow cooker a lot.

The kitchen is where we spend most of our time I know it sounds soppy but I love my kitchen table even with all the little nicks on it- I love to sit with them chopping veg/reading/homework whatever it just feels really homely.

Talk and don't compare siblings try and spend time with each on their own.

I'm hot on manners too.

Online shopping -I hate going supermarket shopping with all of them.

MUM2BLESS Wed 27-Oct-10 20:10:19

Lovely comewinewithme, great ideas. Your home sounds so warm. I can imagine you have great family time together.

Its easier to go shopping without bringing all the kids.

I have three boys so some clothes are passed down. I have one daughter who I like to buy things for in moderation.

slipperandpjsmum Wed 27-Oct-10 22:09:22

ComeWhineWithMe - tell me more about the slow cooker. We have tried on several occassions and its never gone well. The last time I attempted it we walked into the house and my 8 yr old ds said "Oh Mum I think the dog has been sick in the kitchen", no I said its tea!!

I think the problem may be we don't eat much red meat so I have always used chicken. Can anyone tell me where I am going wrong. I think I have ingrained a slow cooker phobia in my children!!!

gumblossom Thu 28-Oct-10 00:40:36

Slipper, I've used some of the mumsnet slow cooker recipes, or I'll google and I've found a few good ones. If you are using chicken, it can dry out a bit, so don't cook it too long - and pieces with the bone in will be more flavoursome and tender.

I just remembered a couple of other things.

I also buy online and recently bought Ikea towels - each kid has two towels in one colour, so their own towels are easily identified and it's put an end to fighting over the towels ("he used mine" etc).It has also stopped them getting a clean towel out every day and making piles of washing for me. My daughter would always have a pile of 6 towels in her room.Now she has to make sure her towel is in the bathroom before getting in the shower! It seems to be working.

On Friday nights we have pizza night.I make the bases in the bread maker.The kids all get involved preparing the ingredients and then put the topping on their own pizza. They love it.

I've recently decided that the kids were asking for pudding too much, so Friday nights will be pudding night and we'll only have it other nights if it's a special occasion.

I've gone through an ebay stage where we sold things we didn't want anymore - the kids sold off toys they'd grown out of. I also sold my LO's used baby clothes and bought more when he got bigger. But I have stopped doing it.I found it wasn't really worth the time and energy put in.The kids loved doing it though.

Now we go to the thrift store to find bargains. This is a shopping outing my children love because they can buy a little something so cheaply.

I also try to spend time alone with each, but it is hard. On Sat mornings I go to the farmer's market. If I'm not meeting a friend for coffee I'll take one of the girl's with me to help at the markets.Then they'll get an icecream.It's nice for us both.

I also bulk buy knickers and socks.When my oldest boy was still living at home he would always use his brother and father's socks, so I started buying one colour for each, then there were no more arguments. I know it's a bit dull, but it worked. Now he lives away and there are no more sock altercations!!

It's nice talking to other mums with large families.It isn't very common where I live, and I get some pretty scathing remarks from some people...sad

MUM2BLESS Thu 28-Oct-10 18:34:39

Wow gumsblossom doing good!!! you seem so organised. Thanks for your great ideas. grin and everyone else too!!

We buy in bulk sometimes ie toilet paper and water

What about holidays, not family friendly at times. Been anywhere here or abroad that was good on your finances?

LizinFrance Mon 01-Nov-10 20:06:14

Hi there,

Can I join your thread please? Some fabulous ideas! I live in France, with hubby and 4 children (12, 10, 3 and 8 months). Love it, but now at the end of the half term hols and feel absolutely knackered. Dont seem to have done anything other than nag at the kids and split up arguements between them! Any help greatly appreciated...........never seem to food plan very well. Want to use slow cooker more but 2 of us are veggies so not so easy. Try to cook veggie during week for us all and then meat for the boys at the week end. My older 2 (particularly ds 10) is so 'its not fair', 'shes got more than me' etc etc. Sorry, just feeling a bit AAAAARGH! this evening! Anyone else feeling the same? Cheers, Liz

MUM2BLESS Fri 05-Nov-10 11:35:17

Hi LizinFrance

Are there many families with four children in france? are you french?

You can join our thread, a big welcome to you!

Are you working or at home?

I childmind four as well as looking after mine.

Anyone got any tips for LizinFrance?

LizinFrance Fri 05-Nov-10 23:07:23

Hi Mum2bless

Phew - feeling calmer now. Sorry for the rant!

No, we're not french. Moved here 6 years ago. Love it - out in the sticks. There are quite a few families I know with 4 children here. They do seem to go for the bigger families. I'm not working - at home with Lily (8months). Taught english for a while and hope to go back to that at some stage.

So you have 4 of your own, and childmind anothe 4! Wow!

Anyway, have a good week end everyone.

PS like the idea of different colour towels-fed up of everyone pinching mine!

molliemol Sat 06-Nov-10 00:12:58

Hi- just read all the posts with interest. I have four- 12,10,8,3- two boys, two girls. We've got a very busy household as we both work full time. My ten year old dd loves to cook, which is great- she will happily make a cake or biscuits, and a great cup of tea- this definitely helps a lot! Mine don't do loads of chores- a bit of tidying, making their beds (at least they are supposed to), and bring their washing down. Not a lot, but every bit helps. Also, for Liz, just been looking on rightmove at houses in France- so tempting!

MUM2BLESS Sun 07-Nov-10 10:41:23

Liz.. what made you move to france if I may ask?

LizinFrance Sun 07-Nov-10 20:38:53

Hi there,

What made us move to France?.........Just desperate for a change. Hubby worked in London - good job but long hours. Had 2 littlies at the time and he saw very little of them. House prices at the time in UK and France meant we could get somewhere with nice bit of land and no mortgage. Needed good bit of work doing to it, but nearly finished now. Hubby still works (self employed electrician) but can take time off when he likes as outogings much less. When our 3rd and 4th were born, he took good 6 months off. I do miss the family lots, especially as my Dad not too well at the mo. Having said that, I certainly wouldnt go back. We are in Northern Dordogne. Really rural area but only half hour from 'biggish' city, and hour from airports. Looking back it all happened really quickly, and I think if I had stopped to think too hard about what we were doing I would have chickened out!

Molliemol, whereabouts are you looking? Are you really thinking of moving over? I notice you have a little one. Ours are 12,10, 3 and 8 months. Do you have problems with your older ones often telling little ones off? All our 10 year old seems to have done today is moan at the 3 year old!

Anyway, nice chatting to you! Have a good evening.

fidelma Mon 08-Nov-10 21:55:48

My 4 get knickers,socks,hair bands and tooth brushes in their Christmas stockings.(along with everything eles)

I have tea ready for them when they come in from school so the main cooking is all over and done with by 5pm, then they have a light super before bed.

School bags and kit must be ready the night before and pack lunches made by me.
I will help them find anything at night but I will not find it in the morning.

we don't do many activities outwith school during the week as I cant cope with driving all over the country.Luckly the school has excellent clubs.Music lessons are taken at school.

We often all have a 20min tidy up.

Hope this helps.

GaribaldiGirl Mon 08-Nov-10 21:56:10

just read though this thread - i love it, particularly the towels idea from gumblossom which I shall now do in my house.
my big bugbear is homework. how am i supposed to get everyone's homework done? schools seem to assume every parent has just a couple of children and nothing else to do in the evenings. mine all bring homework home which requires me to nag them/help them. AAARRRGGGGHHH!

LizinFrance Tue 09-Nov-10 09:11:17

Hi Garibaldigirl

I chuckled at your homework comment - I feel just the same. Feel like the minute they are all home from school, it is just one big race to get homework, dinner, baths, bags, etc etc done in time so they (and us) aren't in bed too late!!!

However...............yesterday I had one of those very rare 'I feel in control/all went well evenings'! 'The big race' started at 5pm. I fed the 2 littlies (3 and 8months). 2 biggies (12 and 10) went upstairs and did homework ON THEIR OWN - with no nagging from me. Biggies stayed upstairs working while I bathed and put littlies to bed. Asleep by 7pm. I made a mega quick butternut squash risotto in the microwave (already chopped quash so just 20 mins)Delicious! Me, hubby, and 2 biggies sat down at 7.30 for peaceful dinner - managed to talk about our days with no interuptions. Went through their homework with them, and all sitting chilling by 8.15pm. WOW! Wonder when that will happen again!

Have a good day everyone!


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