Parenting Tips from Parents of 8 Kids

Craig and Kara Loupelle share their secrets to parenting a brood of eight

Parenting Tips from Parents of 8 KidsOn giving birth… Kara says, “Always bring flowers for the nurses. Craig’s always done that and for a $10 bouquet, we couldn’t believe all the extra things that the nurses do. They’re all over you! Oh, and as soon as it’s “the day’ to give birth, get in the bath and do your makeup and hair because after that, you’re not going to do it for three days!”

On eating out… “With a big family, it’s better to go out for lunch instead of dinner because it’s half the price,” says Kara. “We do that for birthdays and things like that. And for places with kids- eat-free policies, we don’t make out like bandits as people assume. It’s usually limited to one kid per paying adult, so now along with the two adult meals, Carter and Connor will order an adult meal each and then we get four kid’s meals for free.”

On birthday parties… “Off-site is key,” stresses Kara. The Loupelles have taken groups of kids everywhere from McDonald’s to an indoor playland to renting out a local soccer dome. But given that on average a party can cost around $200, Craig and Kara have given a few of their kids an option: a party, or a cake at home with the family and $200 to spend at a local mall. (Three have recently taken them up on the latter.) However, their own birthdays aren’t the problem, says Kara. “It feels like they are attending parties all the time because, on average, each kid gets invited to at least three a year.”

On the early years vs. the teen years… “Both stages have completely different challenges. There are totally different battles and you have to have totally different approaches,” says Kara. “The one thing that’s common through all the years is they always think they’re right and life isn’t fair.”

On the hardest part of parenting all those children… Kara says it’s that “you just always feel disorganized and nothing is done to your liking. I don’t like to relinquish all control or lower my standards but it’s a compromise
all the time. You have to say “Okay, my laundry’s not going to be perfectly folded but does that really matter in the long run?”

On her best organizational tip… “Too many parents don’t give kids the credit for what they’re able to do,” says Kara. “I was guilty of this with Carter — I made every meal, laid out every outfit and now out of necessity, I don’t do it. The kids do.”

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