Managerial Skills for Large Families

Article excerpt

Although most large families delight in the constant company and happy hubbub, many struggle with financial demands and organizational needs.

The following tips come from parents who are raising six or more children. But these ideas will work in moderate-sized families to help maximize the two commodities that are never in sufficient supply - money and time:

* MAKE FAMILY TIME COUNT. With so many people going in so many directions, finding time to get together and communicate can be hard. Most large families focus on one special meal a week - Sabbath dinner, Saturday brunch - when attendance is mandatory. Families also use that time for an informal family meeting.

* FIND TIME FOR EACH CHILD. In some families, dates are made with each child to ensure that everyone gets one-on-one time with at least one parent. Other families have a boys' day with dad or a girls' day with mom. Another family makes chore time special by giving each child a chance to fold laundry with mom or rake leaves with dad.

* FORGET PERFECTION. Whether substituting paper for china or letting laundry pile up for a massive weekly washing, parents of large clans have chosen peaceful family time over a stress-producing desire for household perfection. "I don't feel guilty about paper," says Chani Mendlowitz, a Silver Spring mother of six. "Time together is worth more than a few cents."

* INVOLVE EVERYONE. Large families instill a strong sense of responsibility from a very early age. Although not every family institutionalizes chores, all report that from the youngest toddler on, everyone lends a helping hand where needed. …