How I Make My Kids Feel Special in Our Big Family

My kids were born so close together that two of my 5 children share a birthday.  They share just about everything :: bedrooms, toys, clothes, and friends. They quickly learned that life with lots of siblings meant compromises and sometimes sacrifices for the greater good of all.  Furthermore, making simple decisions in my house is never an easy task because the kids all want different things. It’s tough when their ages range from 22 months old to 13 years old and their interest levels are quite different. I’ve learned to just state my intentions when we do things as a family in order to avoid the pouting and whining that ensues if I allowed them to decide what to do.  It’s a struggle to be fair when it comes to two or more kids and remembering who’s turn it was to get to choose next.  Now you get why I have so many gray hairs.

Individual Attention

My eldest was an only child for 15 months before her brother made his debut into the world.  Life was a blur after that, but one thing my husband and I recognized was that the kids needed their undivided attention from Mom and Dad.  In my house we have what’s called, “{insert child’s name} Day Out”.  

The day starts off like every normal school day but around 10:30 a.m. the hubby and I show up at school to pick up one kid early.  None of my children know when it’s going to happen so it’s a surprise, and I typically avoid doing this during testing season. I love seeing the smiles on their faces when they see me at school because they know what it means. Cohen recently had his day out so he got to pick a restaurant of his choice for lunch.  There was nothing but smiles from the backseat as we headed into town towards his favorite ramen joint. After lunch, he got to choose one fun activity to do with Mom and Dad. Even though it’s not exactly a full day, Cohen got five hours of undivided attention from us, not having to talk over anybody else so that he could be heard, and getting to be the only child. I loved the conversations that we had and he actually got to tell me full jokes without being interrupted! During this time, his personality really shined and we talked about things going on at school, friendships, and just about anything a 10 year old wants to talk about.  

But What About School?

I am a former school teacher so I know that some of you many be asking why not do this on the weekend and not miss school?  Honestly, it’s quite difficult for us to find a sitter on the weekend and the outings are usually spontaneous because it has to be a day that we both can get off at work. We really value this time spent with our child and it’s important to my family.  My kids are never jealous of their siblings day out with Mom and Dad.  They actually love hearing about it and would even give positive affirmations to their sibling on their day.  We feel that this is something special that we can share with our kids and adds to their positive self esteem as they grow.

Day Out Activities

Here are some of the things that my kids have enjoyed doing on their day out:

  • fishing/crabbing in Galveston
  • museum hopping
  • browsing the bookstore and drinking frappacinos
  • going to the zoo
  • candy tasting at The Chocolate Bar 
  • bowling 
  • watching a movie
  • exploring the Kemah Boardwalk
  • dining at the Aquarium 
  • enjoying a picnic on the hill at Miller’s Outdoor Theater 
  • going to Chuck-e-Cheese or Main Event
  • roller skating at the roller rink
  • taking a food tour around Houston to try out new places

This is pretty normal stuff, you may think, but getting to spend that one-on-one time with Mom and Dad makes it the best day ever for my kids. There are so many things that I often worry about with having a large family like–will my kids resent a big family? Do they feel like we’re not giving them enough attention?–the list goes on and on.  Having a day out helps me feel like I’m addressing these concerns. My husband and I are figuring out parenthood as we go along but we both agree that having a special day out for each of our kids is one of the best traditions that we have ever started for our family.

I would love to hear about your family’s traditions or something that you do to make your child feel extra special!

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Christine was raised in Houston almost all her life, but currently resides in Sugar Land with her family. She graduated with a teaching degree from the University of Houston and taught elementary school for eight wonderful years.  She met her husband Martin while they both were teaching CCE at a local parish.  Together they have five beautiful children Madison {September 2005}, Caden {April 2007}, Cohen {April 2008}, Mason {August 2009}, and Anna-Marie {November 2016}.  Christine is also a self-taught baker, cake designer, and owner of The Sweet Boutique Bakery.  In 2016, her family felt a huge calling to open up their hearts and home to fostering babies.  When Christine isn’t juggling work, being an active school mom, or caring for her foster baby, you will find her creating DIY home projects, crafting, party planning, baking with her kids, and traveling with her family.  You can read more of her family shenanigans on The Sweet Boutique's Blog.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I love this, Christine!! I have to remember that it’s important to have alone time with each kid to continue that special bond with them. It’s easy with my youngest because she is home with me two days a week, but with the oldest in school 5 days a week, she sometimes gets less alone time. They really crave that bond and to have special Mommy/Daddy alone time. Great post!!

    • Thanks Jen!! I’m so glad that you enjoyed reading my post. Let me know how it goes when you get time to have your first day out. 🙂

  2. Christine! I love this idea I have a big family (5) myself. I also feel like I don’t give them enough attention. And weekends aren’t long enough to run errands and find time for anything. You’re an amazing mom kudos to you. Quick question do you go on your dates weekly or just monthly?

    • Hi Miriam! First off I want to send you some love for being a mom of five as well. 😊 We go on our dates once a school year because of our work schedules. Plus I think it makes it more special when it’s not so frequent.

  3. I enjoyed this post! My kids are pre-school ages, but I can already see how important one-on-one time is for them. My 3yo is a middle child, and she throws some terrible tantrums. She is so pleasant, though, when you get her by herself. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

    • Thank you for reading Betsy! Those temper tantrums are no joke! I have an almost two year old so I’m right there with you. 🙂

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