Eight children under 8 years old (including newborn twins)

That’s what we currently have. In fact, at the moment the age range of “the younger ones” is 8, 6, 5, 4, 2, 13 months and 3 week old twins.

People often say that the older children (18, 17 and 12) must help out a lot with the younger ones. I tell them that the oldest two are no longer living at home and the answer is almost always a surprised “Oh!”. If I were to look into the future ten years ago to where we are now, I think I’d have fainted! There is no way I could have imagined having so many children so close in age and when people often ask, “How do you cope?”, especially with a couple of newborns thrown into the mix.  

Here are some tips on what I have found works for me:

Take some time out after having a new baby

The week after the twins were born coincided with the week that half-term was scheduled.  This meant that the kids had a week off their lessons and I had a week off from teaching them.  Whether or not it was scheduled, we’d have had that week off anyway.  It took pressure off and allowed us all to simply veg and focus on settling with the new babies.

Limit visitors

People often want to come and visit new babies and sometimes it can be a little overwhelming to be dealing with so many people coming in and out the door in a short space of time when you are busy and dealing with a gazillion things already.  Don’t be afraid to say, “We need a little time and I’ll let you know when we’re a little more settled.”.  Usually they’ll understand and won’t mind waiting a week or two to visit.  If they are offended, well, that’s not your problem to deal with.

Let things slide for a while and accept it

Sometimes it’s necessary to accept that some things need to take a back seat.  For example, I will normally hoover the house (downstairs only) twice a day.  Since having the twins it has usually only been done once a day.  At first it grated me and I felt a knot in my stomach that I wasn’t “keeping up” as I normally would.  Then I realised that as long as we were a) fed and b) had clean clothes to wear, I was doing okay!  If the crumbs on the carpet really bothered me I could run the sweeper over them even if I couldn’t go the whole hog and get the hoover out.  Ok, so maybe I couldn’t let it go completely!

Avoid unnecessary trips out

Packing up everything and getting everyone loaded onto the family bus can take a lot of time and effort.  Slow down.  Take time to stay at home and just take things easy.  Have a family movie afternoon, sit in the garden (weather permitting!) or read together.  You can do plenty of things with your new baby in tow.  Take a week or two to rest and remove any unnecessary trips or appointments from your schedule.


One thing that has evolved greatly as my family has grown is realising how great the need for organisation is.  Keeping the laundry rotating rather than thinking you’ll deal with it later, or keeping an eye on the groceries to make sure you don’t run out of milk first thing in the morning is a must.  I have to admit, for the first time in a very long time we have failed on the latter.  Thankfully Mike is home and able to make an early morning run for a milk top-up.  If he were not here I would be having a nightmare to get nine of the kids out of the house in the early morning to go and get the stuff I’ve run out of.  This would create havoc with my stress levels, the children wouldn’t be happy at being dragged out without having breakfast and meltdowns would occur all round.  So organisation is the key.  Note to self: Take own advice – remember to check the milk in future!


As with organisation I feel better when things run to some kind of a routine.  The younger children’s nap times are always around the same time each day as are meal times and bed times.  Sleeping and eating are the two most important things to keep on top of if you want to avoid children’s melt downs so if you have these two worked into some kind of set schedule you’ve won half the battle.

Shop online

I am a big fan of doing my grocery shopping online.  I hate shopping at the best of times, whether it’s for groceries, clothes or anything else.  I hate the busyness of shops, the checkout queues, the parking, carrying the bags around… the lot, so shopping online is, in my opinion, one of the greatest developments ever.  I click on what I want, pay by card and get it delivered to my door.  Lovely and stress-free.  (Well almost.  I’d be happier if the delivery driver could also unpack my shopping for me.  Yes I know, I’m so demanding and hard to please).

Use a slow cooker

Throw a selection of ingredients in in the morning.  Switch on.  Eat a yummy, hot meal in the evening.  Easy!

Have a supportive husband

Yes, I’ve been very lucky with this one I know.  Mike is more than halfway off his parental leave period now. It’s been great having him home and spending time with him.  He’s been a great help with everything, from looking after the kids to helping with the housework and laundry.  He’s even been honing his cooking skills with fab results.  I am really going to miss him when he goes back to work.

There are a few more things I could probably add to this list but those are the suggestions to get started with.  What have you found works for you?


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5 thoughts on “Eight children under 8 years old (including newborn twins)

  1. Having had a bunch of very small children including newborn twins, and now with five teenagers, adult children , school age and again new born twins I totally agree with your list, I have a few others:
    1. When the new baby comes buy any young children a gift from the baby. Hide it in the cot on their first visit. It helps to keep them distracted whislt others give the baby attention. We are very lucky none of our children have ever shown signs of jealously but it makes them feel special too.
    2. Let them all help! The baby won't realise a few little rough hands but the toddler will remember rejection if we dont let him help.
    3. Pre cook meals and freeze them so you can have time off with the baby.
    4. Make sure all admin , birthdays etc are well organised erode the baby comes.
    5. Do not leave anything to the morning! It's always a rush!! Gets eryone packed and ready the night before. We have had at one point 7 or 8 children going to four different schools, all leaving at different times. Night time organisation is the key!
    6. Specific rota's in bedrooms and for daily/ weekly jobs. Everyone knows what is expected of them before they are allowed out or to have chill out times.
    7. Stick to your discipline! Don't bend, they sniff leeway a mile off and will spot if someone gets away with something they were chastised for!
    8. Have one family night where no one plans to go out. Generally we play games with the little ones then watch a video with all the teens in the winter, in the summer it's lots of bar squeaky the beach.
    9. Try Togo away each year as a family with everyone. It's lovely to re group and bond without daily distractions.
    10. Build in time alone with each child. Take them to costa fora coffee, out for a walk. Visit somewhere with just them . They love these special times.
    I could go on forever ! 24 years of parenting 11 children have a list which grows and changes as they do!

  2. Great tips…and many can be used with smaller families too. On bed rest now and it has been quite humbling to say the least. Having to rely on the assistance (and generosity) of others. This too shall pass…a motto I try to remember quite often! Beautiful family!

  3. I agree with Fiona about doing things the night before. We get the kids to pack their lunchboxes with all the snacks, fruit etc and just do sandwiches in the morning. Or sometimes freeze the sandwiches! Also agree about the slow cooker and the one on one time – amazing how many deep and meaningfuls you can have in the car!

    Also, I'd say let the children help as much as possible, because even if it takes longer when they're 3 years old or 5 years old, by the time they're 10, they'll be pros!

    Lastly for us, the MUST have is the family diary on the kitchen counter. Everything that we are doing is written in this diary and if it's not there, it's not going to happen. We only have 6 kids, but we are on a board of trustees for school, a multiple birth club committee, coach son number 2's cricket team and manage daughter number 2's waterpolo team as well as both working full time and that's not even starting on the kids' activities! So in order to coordinate, I need to know what we're doing. Calendars don't work for us as there's not enough room! We have a week to a page diary and that seems to be the best option.


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