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Large family management is really nothing more than family management – just taken to the extreme. As the CEO of your family, you are the one who generally manages most things, especially where your children are involved.
Being the manager of your home isn’t difficult, it just takes a little direction. As we’ve added more children into the mix over the years, being an effective manager has only become increasingly more essential in our home life.
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I think one of the best pieces of advice I can give on managing large family life is that you can’t do it all on your own.
In other words, large family living is a family affair. It takes a group effort with everyone doing their part, and all parts are dependent on one another.
This concept is one that we have to continually remind our children of – all parts are interdependent on one another. Everyone is equally valuable, everyone is equally needed, and everyone is equally appreciated. Never does this become more clear than when one member is missing whether they are gone for an evening, a day, or longer.
In a large family, or any family for that matter, don’t be afraid of delegating tasks. However, before you can do this, you have to spend ample time training others for what you need them to do. This can be a hefty investment in the one thing you are trying to conserve – time. I can assure you, however, that it will be worth it.
When delegating tasks you have to keep in mind that these tasks will be completed differently from when you complete them on your own. This is especially true when tasks are being done by younger children, but that is ok. It is good for you, and it is greatly important for your children to learn, to improve, and to take part in being a family. In doing this, you are also allowing your children to establish the foundation on which they will build their skills as adults.
It really is amazing what young kids are capable of, more than we usually give them credit for. There are lists all over the internet on what jobs are appropriate for various ages. I consult these at times, but usually we find that jobs get passed down from older to younger kids. I’m sure that I will compile a list of what delegation looks like in our home at some point.
Working together, either on a specific project or towards a common goal – even the goal of simply living together – comes naturally when you live in a state of connectedness, of mutual respect, and with the desire to truly serve those with whom you live. Let’s face it, no one likes “help” from a grumbling and reluctant helper.
Chances are you have chosen to embrace large family living for very personal reasons and in response to a personal conviction or calling. Carrying a “service” attitude into the mundane realities of life grounds everything and everyone in the common pursuit of loving others more than ourselves. I often say that in large family life there is no room for “self.”
Our children learn to be selfless by the example we set, but they also have to be given the opportunity to serve through the tasks we assign them to complete. A shared workload is a necessity in large family management. Spend some time focusing on how you can embrace the teamwork mentality in your family.