Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have 19 kids and two – soon to be three – grandkids. On their TLC reality show "19 Kids and Counting," we get to see how Jim Bob and Michelle manage their big family. Even if you don’t have a double-digit number of kids in your house, there’s still a lot to learn from one of America’s most famous families.
1. Turn everything into a learning opportunity
The Duggars’ show has taken them everywhere from Washington, D.C., to Jerusalem. Since the kids are all homeschooled, family vacations double as field trips. Whether you’re going to another continent or just to the grocery store around the corner, remember that every place offers a chance for your child to learn something new. Below, watch the family learn about a traditional Japanese breakfast on one of their many trips:
2. It’s never too early to learn to be responsible for others
Because the Duggar family is so large, the older kids are assigned to sibling “buddies,” whom they’re responsible for taking care of during the day. You can teach kids accountability and empathy by helping them take care of others, whether it’s helping dress a younger sibling or feeding the family dog.
3. Find activities that work for everybody
It’s hard coming up with activities that entertain both toddlers and teens, but the Duggars mix it up and try to find things that every member of the family will enjoy. While traveling, they visit historical sites as well as kid-friendly amusement parks. Another trick? They often interact with other large families, making it more likely that there’s an age-appropriate friend/playmate for everyone.
4. Remember that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to be happy
The Duggars’ motto is “buy used and save the difference,” and if you had 19 kids, you probably wouldn’t want to drop several hundred dollars to take the whole family out to a movie. The Duggars create fun family experiences at home, such as a Friday-night movie rental complete with homemade snacks. You can do this with your own family, too: rotate family members so that someone different picks the movie each week, get creative toppings for the popcorn, and settle in for the night. Best of all, the movie gives you something to talk about afterward.
5. Nurture your own relationship, too
Although it would be easy for Jim Bob and Michelle to just be Mom & Dad 24/7, they make an effort to spend time together without the kids, whether that’s a special trip to New York City for their anniversary or just a couple of hours out of the house with Grandma babysitting. They make time for one-on-one time to talk, connect and focus on something other than their children. When they return to the family, they’re energetic and happy to get back to business.
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