The Duggar family is known for using what they call a "buddy system". By 2001, Jim Bob and Michelle had implemented the buddy system, where each older child was paired with a younger child to take care of. Typical tasks for an older buddy included dressing, bathing, and feeding their younger buddies. By 2009, the family had switched from individual buddies to buddy teams, with each team being led by one of the oldest four daughters. a system that requires and older child to take care and responsibility of a younger sibling. When asked "When did you start using the buddy system?", they replied:
"We came up with the idea years ago when we had a number of little ones, I don't exactly remember what age the oldest one was - maybe eight years old. We were trying to gather up all the shoes as we were walking out the door, getting them on the little feet and tying them, and buckling up all the car seats. And we realized it works much better if we're trying to hurry to have one of the older ones help the little guys buckle their seatbelts.
They'd climb over the seats to the back of the van and do it about as fast as we could say it. That's how it started - as we were getting ready or getting things done, one of the older ones would just jump in and help with one of the little ones. If they saw that a shoe wasn't tied, well, they'd bend over and help tie the shoe. And we thought, wow that is so sweet because the little guys really look up to the bigger ones; they admire them and they want to be like them. They want to be big and they want to be able to do those things someday.
The older ones just loved it because they thought, "Wow, I'm big. I'm a helper. I get to be a helper for this little guy or this little girl." And the little guys absolutely loved it because it's like a mentoring relationship. It's so much fun to have that older one to be your buddy. I have noticed the ones that were teamed up and worked together a lot have such a sweetness in their relationship. All of them love hanging out with each other, but I have found that those buddy teams, they really do a lot together even today."
It is unknown if they still use the buddy systems as three of the four oldest girls are now married.