This information was last updated in 2004. The Tudors have not changed, but our understanding of them might!
Tudor families were generally larger than ours are today. People usually had more children. Sometimes widowed grandparents, unmarried aunts and orphaned cousins lived with the family too. Servants and apprentices were often treated as part of the family. Everyone would work and play together.
Noble parents often arranged marriages for their children when they were very young. The marriages themselves usually did not take place until the bride was at least sixteen. She was then expected to have as many children as possible. Jane Seymour's mother, for instance, had three other daughters and six sons. Because medical knowledge was limited, childbirth was very dangerous in the 16th century. Many women died giving birth or, like Jane Seymour herself, soon after.
Wealthy babies were not fed or cared for by their own mothers. Instead, a woman whose own baby had been lost or weaned was employed as a wet nurse to look after them. Royal babies, such as Henry VIII's children, were set up with their own households and never actually lived with their parents.
Most Tudors did not marry at an early age. The average age for women was 25 to 26, and for men a little older. Ordinary women fed their own babies and often did not have enough to eat. As a result they had fewer children, perhaps three or four.
Tudor parents were much harsher with children than we are today. There was a religious belief that children were born wicked and had to have the wickedness beaten out of them. There is plenty of evidence, though, that Tudor parents loved and cared for their children, buying them toys and worrying about them.
The main worry for parents was sickness and disease. Babies and young children were especially at risk, particularly if they lived in overcrowded, unhygienic, damp conditions, as many did in London. People believed that bad air caused diseases, and so herbs were often burned in sickrooms. Sadly many children, both rich and poor, died young. Only two of Henry and Joan Redman's children seem to have survived.