Life with 5 children under the age of 6, could definitely be considered "madness" I won't lie. Practically every five minutes at least one child is crying, and everyone always needs something that only mommy can get them. But here in the last month or so we're finally finding our rhythm. And since one of the most common questions I get asked or emailed about is how I "do this" with 5 young children I thought I'd write a post about it. Remember, though, and I should hope this goes without saying, I still have a lot to learn. My kids and I have our fair share of bad days. I am far from having any of this all figured out.
1. Time with the Lord. I know, probably a given, but seriously that is my anchor for the day. Even if it's only five minutes first thing in the morning, reading my bible on my phone when Luke wakes up for his 4 am feeding, or if I'm praying while toddlers are climbing all over me, it gives me a much better perspective on the day.
2. Wake up times. I know this isn't for everyone, but this has been a tremendous blessing to me. Basically a wake up time is the time that the kids are allowed to come out of their room in the morning or after nap/ rest time. Yes there are some exceptions(as with anything else), but as a general rule we start the day around 7:30 and everyone gets up from naps/ rest around 4. However that's not to say if a child wakes up before then he has to go back to sleep, or even back to bed. There are times when they come to our bed and sleep(although I really am trying to get up before them, it just doesn't always happen!), or they play with a puzzle or look at a book until it's time to start the day.
3. Getting everyone on the same sleep schedule. Again there are exceptions, but for the most part everyone is in bed by 7:30 at night, and everyone takes a nap around 2 every afternoon(yes even Jack needs a little down time still. I'm thinking it's because he shares a room with early risers.) One of my goals when I bring a baby home is to adjust their morning nap so that they take their longest nap in the afternoon, and so far I've had pretty good success with this.
4. Train them in right behavior. Teach them to help. When they don't obey, or don't do something the way you were intending have them practice doing it the right way. I have been amazed how helpful my 5 and 6 year old are, and a lot of that has just been a result of constant training.
5. Pick your battles. I'm sure I sound pretty strict, and in a lot of ways I am...but in many others I'm not. Honestly the more kids I have the more I'm learning to relax. Is it really a big deal to have occasional picnics in the living room, put the too big shoes on the 2 year olds feet(because he insists on wearing them), or letting them build forts out of the couch cushions? I don't want to have to constantly be saying no. I want my kids to look back on our home and their childhood with a lot of happy memories, and picking my battles has been a step in that direction.
There is a lot more I could say that has been helpful, but I think this post is long enough. :) What else would you add to this list?
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