Blended Family

Britteny - posted on 02/03/2009 ( 6 moms have responded )

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I am 23 and have a 4 year old boy of my own and have 13 , 7, 4, 3 year old step children who recently moved in with us. Their mom moved out of state. How can i make them feel at home and how can i help my son with the changes. He has had a lot of changes this year, so have my stepchildren how can i establish some normalcy for them aside from routine? Also how can i help not have our house and the toys and everything else from being destroyed aside from time-outs and chore charts. I feel like i have been thrown into this without enough amor. My husband works graveyard hours and needs to sleep during the day i have a hard time finding a quiet activity that will hold their attension. I have a hard time getting them to be quiet at all. I can only allow them to play outside for a short time because it is so cold.

Any suggestions on how to help all my kids with these big changes and a peaceful and happy home?

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Kerri - posted on 02/07/2009

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One more thing, as far as keeping the kids quiet during the day, there are a few things you could try.  Granted, small children are not going to be quiet for very long .....I assume there are 3 during the day, two-4 year olds and a 3-year-old.  Start a daily schedule, buy a workbook for each of them or print worksheets off from online sites, age appropriate for each child, numbers, letters, colors, etc.for them to work in daily, then have them watch a TV show, there are several educational ones, start a hobby for them like building with legos or an art notebook.  Then have them eat lunch.  Buy each child their own nap-pad and immediately after lunch have them take a nap every day at the same time for about an hour.  If they can't sleep then just have them be quiet.  Reward them every day with something (even if it is just a cookie).  It may be crazy at first but once they get into the routine it will be easier.  This will buy your husband at least 3 hours of semi-quiet time.  It also will help the kids get in a routine and prepare them for K5 next year.  

Kerri - posted on 02/07/2009

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I tried the chore charts too and they just did not work for me.  What did work though was a "chore bowl. "  We wrote twenty age appropriate chores on index cards, folded them and dropped all of them in a fish bowl.  Every day it was required for each child to pick a chore and do it.  They were allowed to do it either in the morning or in the afternoon but they each had to do one a day.  After they finished it they brought the card to me or their dad and we checked to make sure it was done. correctly   If they did their chores for the week they got an allowance.  It worked good for us for several reasons:  It was random - the kids did different chores every day.  We were able to follow up on the chores and teach the kids the "RIGHT" way to do them.  They were rewarded for their efforts.  The allowance worked well because they felt like they had their own money.  With younger kids you can get away with small amounts of money.  Now that the kids are older, they know how to be tidy and organized.  They have learned how to handle their own money and they do chores on their own without us having to make them do them.  I had a friend that had a "prize closet."  She would assign chores weekly - i.e. one week her son was responsible for emptying the trash cans.  If he did it then he got a trip to the prize closet.  For prizes she just went to the dollar store and bought 20 or 30 random kids things and wrapped them.  The kids LOVED it bc it felt like they were getting a present.   This probably won't work for your 13 year old but earning privileges might, like 30 minutes of extra TV on the weekend or staying up 10 minutes later than the younger kids at night.  It gets trickier with the older ones but it can be done.  Routine and consistency is the key to EVERYTHING!

Lissa - posted on 02/06/2009

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I too have almost exactly the same problem as you! Except I am only 21 and have a 5 year old of my own and then a 5 year old step son and a 8 year old step daughter plus my husband and and i have a 16 month old son and a 2 month old daughter (5 in all). They also all live with us full time. In the beginning my husband and his children moved into my house, so it was a new environment for them i made them feel welcome by giving them special little things that belong to them, and only them like a dinner place mat and a special towel. Also, I made sure to remind my step-kids that this wasa no longer "Lissa's House" but it was our house, I even went as far as to put there name on our return adress labels so that way everywhere they looked they saw a little piece of them in the house. I too tried the chore chart, it never really seemed to work, in the end I was the one always picking up and doing all the house work. So we started the "Star System" , every time each child did a chore they recieved a star and at the eend of the week they could use there stars to buy somethings from the toy store or they could cash them in and put the money in the bank. My husband also works mid_nights and the answer to that is there is no way to keep kids quiet all day. My husband has learned to sleep with our tv on in the bedroom so that way he doesnt hear the noise the kids are making.

Kerri - posted on 02/06/2009

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Britteny, there are several books you can buy that can help you.  One of my favorites, and the most helpful to me is "7 Keys to a Healthy Blended Family" by Jim Smoke.  It is available through Amazon.com and it was only $11.00.  It has information on everything from handling the changes to helping children adapt, financial issues of blended families, extended family members, equality of the children, etc.  It is a good book.  The thing that helped our family the most was setting a routine and sticking to it.  Good luck and I hope this helps!

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Are the smaller children in daycare? maybe they can go a few days a week but I think he may need to adjust his schedule or something. 

Mika - posted on 02/05/2009

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OMG.....your only 23 yrs old....first i would haveto say i think that your husband is expecting too much from you and the kids , if he is expecting the kids to be quiet, while he sleeps ,second your way too young for all this responsibility threw in your lap..its not going to happen over nite but you will have to be firm on punishments , stay serious with them when its time for things to get done , they will find out you mean business, its hard with kids at their age.then understand it is an adjustment for them too, but they will come around as long as you and their father stays consistant.

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