How to Manage Seven Children

Written by: The Snod Life

I was asked to write a guest post for a fellow blogger on parenting, so here we go!

She has two sweet little boys and she asked me “How the heck do you guys even manage all of that?!”

First off, three of the seven are not with us all of the time. Mike’s son does every other week with us, and two of my younger boys go to their dads every other week for four days.

When there are ‘just’ four kids in the house, it’s almost quiet and soooo easy to manage. I work when we’re not so heavy on the kids, so we do a lot of meal prepping and planning these weeks.

Organize, Organize, Organize.

Mike and I have our Google calendars synced, and our entire lives are in there (it’s crazy busy). If it doesn’t make it to the calendar, chances are pretty decent it won’t get done. 

We also have a white board in the kitchen where we write down important tasks for the week so the kids know what is going on. Practice schedules for kids’ sports also go on the white board. 

Mike and I are pretty good about coordinating rides for the kids, but occasionally we will rely on Abigail to chauffeur (her fee is $5/kid/round trip – her prices are reasonable, and she’s very punctual. 5/5 stars).

Meal Prep.

The day before Mike and I start our work week, we go grocery shopping and meal prep. We typically make breakfast casseroles and overnight oats for morning meals, BBQ several pounds of chicken and steak, a large tray of potatoes or rice, and make sure there are plenty of vegetables in the freezer. I will also often cook a meatloaf or two, lasagna, and soup to keep in the fridge. Mike often works overtime, and I never get home before 7pm so unless we want to eat cereal for a week (which I totally wasn’t opposed to my last pregnancy), we have to meal prep.

My girlfriend thinks it’s totally crazy that I make dinner at 4pm, but if we don’t have dinner done prior to sports/errands, we have a 100% chance of eating pizza at 7:30pm three to four days a week. Trust me, it’s possible for kids to get tired of pizza. 

Here is an article where I explained our meal prepping, complete with menus and shopping lists. Check it out!

Routine.

Prior to me, Mike had only two kids so structure happened much more organically than I can ever remember personally. Two kids, two parents? Easy peasy. 

Every day we try and keep things as structered as possible.

  • Breakfast
  • Chores 
  • School
  • Snack
  • Homework
  • Practice
  • Chores
  • Dinner
  • Twenty minutes of reading 
  • Shower and baths
  • Bedtime

We have a list on the magic whiteboard of what specific task needs to be completed in each room, and when they are assigned to whom (after lots of trial and error, we deemed Sunday and Thursday are Big Clean days where we deep clean the house).

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Here is a post on our expectations regarding chores and personal responsibility. 

Plan for the Worst.

We realize all of the planning in the world won’t matter if the plan doesn’t get executed. We (try to) show grace, and we have backup plans. Sometimes one kid has to be early to practice, and another will be picked up a few minutes late. Sometimes we call a neighbor for a favor.

I’ve preached it before, but making friends with the parents on your kids’ teams is a gold mine. Car pooling is a total lifesaver, especially when you guys can take turns with rides. I know I don’t enjoy spending two hours driving around every evening (although I have been plowing through my Audible library with amazing speed).

Keep a few meals in the freezer for rushed nights (and know the phone numbers and hours of your fave takeout spots for the times when things totally don’t go as planned).

Be patient. Mike likes to describe our lifestyle as “organized chaos” which is funny, but fairly accurate. Our flow and pace may be super crazy, but we make it work and our kids are absolute rockstars for helping out as much as they do. 

Family Meetings.

We have LOTS of family meetings to make sure everyone’s wants and needs are being met, so we can make plans and set goals, and most importantly so the kids know they matter and that we’re all on the same team.

At least every couple months we will schedule a family meeting so we’re all on the same page. This gives us all a time to air our concerns and accolades, and helps unify the kids (and us). 

Here is another post on our favorite phrase to problem solve – What’s Working, What’s Not, and What Needs to Change. This is a great positive sandwich in which to address things that aren’t quite working. We usually do a fun dinner (personal pizzas or the kids’ favorite takeout) and end the night with a family game (always, always Spoons) or a movie night.

Meet the Author

My name is Erin, I am married to the best guy I know, and together we have eight kids. It has been my dream since I was eleven to write (I even sent a hand-written story to a publisher!), and I am having a ton of fun blogging. I hope you enjoy our stories, experience, and inspiration that we share!

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