I wouldn’t say that having three or more kids is easy, but there are many advantages of having a big family. I think some of these can go overlooked when people gape and gasp at the gaggle of children you have.
I wanted to give some love to big families with this post and share some of my favorite things about having a big family. Yes, we have crazy busy lives. They are also filled with so much joy.
I was an only child growing up, so this big family business is new to me. It’s been a delight to experience. Whether you have a brood of your own or are considering future family size, I hope you’ll enjoy reading about the advantages of having a big family.
You can even send the article to doubting family members who scoff and say, “You’re pregnant again? Don’t you know how that happens?”
While this post focuses on the advantages of having a big family, I’ve also written a more well-rounded post about what it’s like having four kids.
Today, big families aren’t the norm. There has been a steady decline in US birth rates since the end of the baby boom in the 1960s. However, a recent survey found that four in ten US adults think that three or more children is the ideal family size, representing an uptick from previous years.
Let’s see what all the fuss is about…
Advantages of Having a Big Family
1. We Laugh A Lot
There’s always something silly going on in our house. From the 2 year-old loudly announcing her bowel movements to the teenager sharing funny videos, there are plenty of opportunities for laughter.
Sometimes we just laugh at the craziness that ensues in our household. (It’s either that or we might go a little batty.)
My kids are witty and love to crack a joke at any opportunity. We’ll often recount funny stories from their earlier years or from our own childhoods, which they love to hear.
Most of all, I love to hear my kids laughing and having fun together (even the giggles from their room past bedtime).
2. You’re Never Lonely
Growing up an only child, I remember the loneliness of being the only kid in the house. When I was in preschool, I would make up imaginary siblings and tell my teachers about them, much to my mother’s confusion.
Don’t get me wrong, I had a wonderful childhood and benefited from my parents’ undivided attention. It could just be lonely sometimes.
In a big family, you rarely spend time alone unless you are making a point to do so. You don’t have to beg your parents to play a board game with you or jump in the pool with you. It’s easy to just grab a sibling and go have fun.
When I’m feeling tired or low, one of my little ones will give me a hug or a snuggle. Feeling lonely can easily be remedied if it ever occurs.
When our children are ever separated from each other, they talk about how much they miss each other. It’s clear they have a strong bond.
3. You Worry Less
Sure, as a parent there will always be worries. It’s not easy being responsible for lives that you cherish more than your own.
But one of the advantages of having a big family is you worry less about the little stuff. By the second or third kid, you’ve reached your parenting stride. You feel more at ease and know that most things are going to work out just fine.
You don’t question every decision or have to look up expert advice at every turn.
The house is babyproofed and you’ve hopefully lowered your standards for housekeeping so you’re not constantly stressed.
You’ve realized that children can be more independent than you’d expect and they’re actually pretty resilient little beings. It’s hard to describe the feeling, but it is a lot more relaxed style of parenting.
4. We Learn From Each Other
It’s great to see the older kids teaching the younger kids things. They both get so much out of it. One of my toddler’s favorite things is having an older sibling read her a book. Of course, they also love to teach her funny new phrases.
They can help each other with their math homework. And what childhood would be complete without learning how to make an armpit fart from your sibling?
As much as my kids learn from each other, I’m also amazed at how much I still learn from all of them. They each have unique interests that are always evolving.
They love to delve into new subjects and share their knowledge with the family. It reminds me how much their little minds are growing all the time.
5. Teaches Teamwork
With six people in our household, we’ve had to learn to work together to get things done. Cleaning up in particular is a family affair. The job gets a lot easier when everyone pitches in.
Siblings who share a room must cooperate to pick it up together.
When we’re getting ready to go somewhere, everyone lends a hand to gather what we need and corral the littler ones to the car. Our movements require a group effort because mom and dad don’t have enough hands.
Loading and unloading the car for vacations or trips to the grocery store requires all hands on deck because more people means more stuff to haul. It’s not as much of a burden when we all chip in.
6. Teaches Sharing
Growing up, I’d never shared a room with anyone until college. Many kids in big families share a room at some point during their childhood. There’s some evidence to suggest that sharing a room can be a positive experience and help kids develop skills like emotional intelligence and conflict management.
When there are a few kids or more, there won’t be enough televisions, video game systems, etc. to go around. It becomes a fact of life that things have to be shared. I think this helps with interactions with friends, classmates, and probably others in the future.
Our kids are used to hand-me-downs and sharing french fries with their brother. Sharing is engrained from an early age, and they make the best of it.
7. Family Always Has Your Back
While we haven’t had any iconic playground fights with one sibling sticking up for another, they do frequently stand up for each other in little ways. If someone is feeling hurt or left out, they’ll make an attempt to remedy the situation.
If a sibling is scared or sick, they will try to soothe them, offering kind words and things that might help such as favorite stuffed animals.
My oldest in particular is always looking out for his littler siblings, as much as they drive him crazy sometimes. He goes into protector mode over our toddler.
I know they would go to bat for each other if ever a need arose, and I’m always telling them how important it is to always be there for each other.
One of the reasons I wanted a big family is having to go through a parent having a long illness alone. If something like that ever happens, I will feel better knowing my kids can lean on each other.
8. Love Is Multiplied
When I was going to have my second child, I worried so much about how I would love them as much as my first. It felt like my heart belonged to my first child, so I wondered what would happen with a second one.
Much to my relief, I quickly realized that your amount of love is not finite, and it multiplies with each subsequent child. I feel so much love for all my children, and I can feel the love they have for each other. Our house is brimming with it.
Everyone doesn’t get along 100% of the time, but the important deep connection of love is always there. Of the advantages of having a big family, this might be the biggest.
9. Watching Generations Grow
One of my greatest joys in life is watching all of my kids’ personalities develop. As I watch them grow into mature humans, I can’t help but think about what things will look like one day when they might have children of their own.
Each of my parents had several siblings, and their family gatherings were always the best. Cousins playing together are some of my fondest childhood memories.
Now I’m creating this shared history with my big family, and one day we’ll hopefully have great family gatherings of our own with generations of love to share.
Is a Big Family Right for You?
I’m not here to convince anyone to have a big family. You should have the size of family that’s right for you and your situation.
If this view seemed overly rosy, my article about having four kids includes some of the challenges of having a big family (have you seen my grocery bill?).
The bottom line is one type of family is not better than another. There are pros and cons to all family types. What’s most important is the love and support that’s given.
Personally, I always knew I wanted more than one child, and having a big family ended up being right for me. I wanted to write this article because sometimes big families receive judgment or are viewed as different from the norm. In reality, there’s a lot that’s great about big families.
I hope reviewing the advantages of having a big family has shown why it is a good fit for some people. Personally, I’m glad I’ve gotten to experience the joys of my big family.
For those that are part of this chaotic but wonderful club, I hope this article rung true for you. Did I leave anything out? What’s your favorite part about having a big family?