My mom scheduled at least an hour every Wednesday to take one of us kids out on a date. It always had to be less than ten dollars, but when it was our turn we got to choose where to go. Since I had nine other siblings, my turn only came around every couple of months or so. It wasn’t ever a big deal, and it never was fancy.

As a kid, I remember the biggest part was thinking about what I would get or where we would go, but looking back on it, the biggest part was definitely having it cemented in my mind that my mom loved and cared about what was going on in my life.

Four Tips for Staying Close as a Large Family

If you homeschool in a big family or even a small one, you recognize that the parent/teacher and child relationship is even more important than ever. Here are a few tips for parents to make sure that your kids get enough of you.

Eat at least one meal a day together and around a table.

It seems weird, but a hallmark of my family growing up was eating around a table as a family three times a day. Now I know how rare that really is for families. I don’t really remember any of the specific conversations we had, but I know they ranged from logic word problems that my brother was facing in law school to the capital of Burkina Faso (it is Ouagadougou). I’ll probably never use that piece of trivia in my life, but the bonding I shared with my parents and siblings I know I will never lose.

Set aside regular and focused time on an individual basis.

Even with both parents available almost all the time, I still needed times just to talk. As a kid, I never planned it out, but when life seemed overwhelming, mom and dad were right there. Even the most stoic child breaks down. Make sure you are available for them when they need you.

Talk about hard issues.

I know some families find it hard to engage their children in serious issues about religion, morals, dreams, and other normal parts of life that can seem overwhelming to a child. However, these issues are what life is founded on. The worst part is watching someone’s life fall apart and having them ask you why you didn’t say anything.

Be a parent and not a buddy.

Ultimately a child needs a rock. They need someone that they can trust and rely on. Kids find friends anywhere and everywhere, but they find guardians very rarely. Be a parent who loves their child, but is strong enough to lead. Don’t simply be the one who just lives in the same house and plays the same video games.