Moms who have big broods need to develop superb organizational skills in order to cope with the demands of raising a lot of kids. They also need tons of patience.
Moms who have only children generally enjoy more free time but need to worry about making sure that their "onlies" get the stimulation and support that they need. There are no brothers and sisters for only children to play with, after all.
Every type of family has its own issues. Today's tips are designed to help Moms with large families, as well as Moms with only children. Moms of all types will enjoy reading this list, which is loaded with advice, interesting facts, and helpful parenting hacks.
There's no right or wrong family size. Life is complicated, Moms are all different and families of different sizes can always be happy families. The trick is for Moms to truly appreciate what they have...and teach the right values. Also, Moms need to plan their days well, so there's time for everything that really matters.
With planning, family values and family happiness in mind, let's look at the 12 best pieces of advice for large families (and 12 for parents of an only child).
24 Large Families: Use Your Phone Alarm To Stay On Track
Since most of us are glued to our smartphones these days, Moms with big broods are encouraged to use their smartphone alarms to keep their lives on track. According to Parents.com,
one mom sets her alarm just to remind herself to maintain a good attitude at the most stressful point in her day. She calls this stressful point the "witching hour".
Moms with lots of kids should think about how their smartphone alarms can be used to remind them of things that they need to do.
23 Only Child: Curb Your Only Child’s Perfectionist Tendencies
According to Parents.com, only kids often place very high expectations on themselves. When they don't feel that they've achieved the goals that they've set for themselves, they may become very downcast.
Only children are typically perfectionists. Understanding this aspect of an only child's nature is important. However, it's also important to try and curb this part of your child's nature sometimes.
There is more to life than some idea of perfection which is rarely achieved. Your child needs to know this.
22 Large Families: Rotate Toys So They Feel Fresh When Re-introduced
Children will enjoy their toys more when they are rotated by caring Moms. If you have a lot of kids, you likely have a lot of toys. Putting some of them away in storage sometimes, and then re-introducing them, will be an excellent way to drum up excitement about old toys, according to Greenchildmagazine.com.
If your kids don't see certain action figures or sets of blocks for a while, and then get to see them again, it'll be almost like they've gotten brand-new toys.
21 Only Child: Make Sure Your Only Child Has Enough Freedom
"Onlies" need freedom. They often get a ton of attention from their parents, and this may make them feel a little smothered.
To ensure that your precious only child develops well and is happy, make sure to offer him or her enough freedom, according to Healthline.com.
While you may be inclined to hover, as you wouldn't have time to do if you had more children to care for, you should hold back sometimes. Let your child explore and learn without a lot of interference.
20 Large Families: Clean Two Rooms Per Day
Another sensible tip for moms with big families is to clean a couple of rooms per day. This type of cleaning routine ensures that stuff gets done every day, even if everything doesn't get done each day.
One Texas-based Mom with a lot of kids found that tidying up just two rooms per day made her feel better. She knew that something was getting done, according to Parents.com. With a lot of kids in the mix, it's tough to clean a whole house daily.
Two rooms are usually achievable. It's a realistic goal.
19 Only Child: Make Sure You’re In Control
Remember, you're the parent. Don't let your only child manage you too much.
Only children do have a habit of wrapping their parents around their little fingers. You are the authority in the home and you need to keep this in mind at all times. Your child needs to know that you're the boss, according to Parents.com. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't be kind and sweet.
Just make sure that your child knows his or her place in the hierarchy.
18 Large Families: Color Code Everyday Items For Each Child
Color coding is a great idea for Moms with big families, according to Parents.com. When every child has a "color", it's easier to stay organized. Let kids pick their own colors or assign them. Then, use the color coding system to keep everything organized.
For example, one kid might have a green knapsack, while another's is pink. Children may have towels in their colors, too.
This simple system works wonders. Most Moms with large families do rely on color coding on a daily basis.
17 Only Child: Encourage Development Of Problem-Solving Skills
Only children may get very frustrated when problems arise. According to Verywellfamily.com, it's possible to teach problem-solving skills at home, which help only kids to cope better when they run into difficulties.
The best strategy is to teach your only child to identify problems, come up with a series of possible solutions and then examine the benefits and drawbacks of each solution.
When you teach problem-solving in this manner, your child will quickly be able to figure out the most practical solution.
16 Large Families: Wake Up Early To Get The Day Going Smoothly
Moms who have a lot of kids generally benefit from waking up early. The early a.m. time gives Moms a chance to get their heads together and get organized before everyone else wakes up.
While getting up early is no fun for most, it is a good method of ensuring that a new day starts off on the right note, according to Parents.com. Smart Moms will get up, clean up and get dressed, before their broods arise. These early bird Moms are ready for anything.
15 Only Child: Teach Your Only Child To Say No
We all need boundaries. Teaching an only child to say no will help him or her to create strong, healthy boundaries that foster proper development, according to Parents.com.
Only children may be inclined to say yes too often, because they want to fit in with other kids and because they want to please their parents. To strengthen a child's sense of self, be sure to let your only child know that he or she can say no sometimes.
Only children need to stand alone occasionally. They need to be mentally strong.
14 Only Child: Socialize Your Child Before Kindergarten
According to Parents.com, only children need to be socialized early and often, because they sometimes find it hard to fit in when they start kindergarten.
They haven't grown up with other kids and don't understand the ins and outs of getting along, resolving arguments and so on. To help your child avoid problems when he or she starts school, schedule lots of playdates before kindergarten begins.
This is the best way to help your child become comfortable with other children.
13 Large Families: Fix Your Children's Hair While They Eat Breakfast
To get more done faster, brush and style the hair of your children while they enjoy their breakfasts. This tip from Parents.com is definitely a big time-saver.
While kids are stuffing their faces, they're unlikely to be too bothered by you running a brush through their hair or making ponytails or whatever. You'll also love the fact that all of the kids are gathered in one place. This means that you won't need to chase them around to fix their hair.
Just move around the table, doing their hair, and then move on. Mission accomplished!
12 Only Child: Don’t Let Your Child Get Too Self-Centered
Only children may grow self-centered if their parents make them feel that they rule the roost.
To keep your child's ego in check, encourage unselfish behavior.
Encouraging sharing behavior in an only child is a very wise parenting strategy that will pay big dividends down the line.
According to Todaysparent.com, modeling sharing behavior is important, but children learn differently depending on their ages. A toddler is going to be a little harder to train than an older child. Start early and don't give up.
11 Large Families: Make A Chore Chart
If you want kids to help with family chores, making a big chore chart will be an excellent idea.
According to Largefamilytable.com, big chore charts make it much easier for every family member to know what's expected of him or her. Chore charts can be fun to look at, too. They can be creative-looking and charming. Ultimately, though, they are all about letting kids know when they need to do tasks.
Make sure that your chore chart is easy to read, update and easy to understand.
10 Only Child: Keep Things Lighthearted
Your only child is growing up in a household populated by adults, even if it's just you (the single mother) and maybe your significant other.
Since your child is constantly exposed to adult influences, it's up to you to keep things lighthearted.
This means plenty of fun play and laughter, according to Parents.com. Remember that your child isn't getting exposed to silly play from brothers and sisters. Clown around to make your home a cheery place.
Things shouldn't be too serious and adult all of the time.
9 Large Families: Set Up A Few Shelves For Each Child
Setting up a few shelves for each child will be a smart idea.
It will help to organize your home and also give each child a sense of having his or her own space. Another tip from Goodhousekeeping.com is to create a "kid's locker" and put it in a central location in the family home.
When stray items appear, which haven't been placed on shelves as they should be, toss the items in the locker.
Let the kids figure out where items in the child's locker belong.
8 Only Child: Encourage Your Child's Independence
Don't live through your only child too much. Of course, your only child will be precious to you, but your child needs to feel independent in order to develop well. So, you should do all that you can to encourage independence in your child, from decision-making to problem-solving and beyond, according to Parents.com.
Your child is more than an extension of you. He or she is a separate being who needs to grow into his or her personality.
Let your child grow into his or her own person.
7 Large Families: Set Strict Routines To Control Chaos
Routine is important for busy Moms who have a lot of children. Routine makes everyone feel safe and also keeps the family's schedule on an even keel. Without routine, things probably won't get done like they should. Stress will build up, because activities are happening randomly, rather than at certain times.
According to Simplelivingmama.com, a slower morning routine that consists of getting up, getting dressed, eating a morning meal and then tidying the house (with the children as helpers) works well.
Every family is different. Some families have to move much faster in the a.m. Find a routine that works for your family and then stick to it.
6 Only Child: Don't Be Too Dependent On Your Kid
Your only child may be everything to you, but your child shouldn't feel that he or she has to fill up every empty space in your psyche. That's too much pressure on a child. So, avoid being too dependent. Keep your own life intact, and encourage your child to develop interests that don't gel with yours. According to Parents.com, kids shouldn't rely too much on parents and the opposite is true, too. There needs to be balance. Make sure that your child isn't your sole source of emotional support.
5 Large Families: Mark Socks To Match Them Easily
A lot of kids means a lot of socks that need to be matched after they come out of the dryer! Smart moms of big families mark the socks before they get washed and dried, as doing so makes it a lot easier to match them later on.
Iron-on labels are one convenient way to mark socks, according to Lifehacks.stackexchange.com. Some moms use permanent markers, such as Sharpies.
Marking socks for each child will streamline the laundry process and lower your stress level.
4 Only Child: Get Close To Other Single-Child Families
Getting to know other "only child" families will be a great way to socialize your child and create a strong support network for you and your only child.
According to Healthline.com, setting up playdates with other kids will be an excellent way to bond with other families and make sure that your child gets a good level of socialization. Don't be afraid to reach out to other only child families.
Chances are good that parents in those families want their children to be around other only children, too.
3 Large Families: Give Each Child One-On-One Attention
This is good common sense, but it can be surprisingly hard to do. Each child needs attention, regardless of age. Naturally, babies and toddlers need the most care and supervision. However, older kids, 'tweens and teens also need their mothers.
Coming up with a plan which allows you to give each child individual attention throughout the week will be very beneficial, according to Parents.com.
While there may be weeks when some kids get more attention than others, you should focus on keeping things fair.
2 Only Child: Don’t Worry Too Much
Only children do a lot better, statistically speaking, that some people think they do. They aren't the selfish loners that society often paints them as. Some go on to amazing success in life. Natalie Portman is one example, according to Beliefnet.com. Research shows that most only children are just as social as their peers who have brothers and sisters. So, don't worry too much. Enjoy your life with your child, do your best as a parent and hope for the best.
1 Large Families: Don’t Over-Schedule Younger Kids
Kids need activities, but how many activities can one large family handle?
Along with activities come preparation, travel and so much more. Too many activities may leave a family irritable and ragged with exhaustion. Of course, you want your brood to be well-balance and activities help kids to become that way. But over-scheduling is really not the answer, according to Parents.com.
Kids need time and space to think, dream and create. They need quiet time to be with you, too.
Sources: Parents.com, Greenchildmagazine.com, Simplelivingmama.com, lifehacks.stackexchange.com, Largefamilytable.com, Goodhousekeeping.com, Healthline.com, Verywellfamily.com, Todaysparent.com, Beliefnet.com