We’ve been a family of four for just over 3 months now but the reality is that a lot of the time it’s just three of us because my husband works full time and it’s me and the girls during the day. Being outnumbered by tiny people can take a bit of getting used to but I think we’re getting to a place where our days run fairly smoothly and I thought I would share a few tips that have helped me to transition from one to two children.
Before Taya was born, I worked full time and Amelia went to nursery five days a week, so not only do I now have two children to look after but I was out of practice at looking after just one all the time too so it was a massive shock to the system to have both of them at home but these tips have really helped.
Lower your expectations
This is actually a tip I picked up from another mummy blogger whilst I was pregnant with Taya. She had recently had her second baby and her biggest tip was to lower your expectation of what you can achieve in a day.
With only one child it might have been possible to achieve lots of things in one day; maybe all the errands in the morning and then a play date in the afternoon. With two children everything takes twice as long, you might have to choose between those errands or that play date.
Remember that everything takes longer with more children, as long as everyone is fed, clean and happy then you’ve had a great day, even if you only managed one item on your to-do list.
Let them help
Amelia is so keen to do things with me and to help with Taya and I love it. She’s always asking to help me and I’m sure it’s because she just wants to be doing what I’m doing even if it’s as boring as unloading the washing machine.
It was great after my section because she would pull all the clothes out into the basket for me so I didn’t have to bend down, she likes to assign every item; daddy’s shirt, mummy’s sock, my t-shirt etc… it’s tedious and takes forever but she feels like she’s involved and it keeps her happy.
She also LOVES to help with Taya; giving her dummy is her favourite thing at the moment but she also likes to help at nappy time by passing me things I need or helping to get her ready after a bath or bring her toys during playtime.
I think it’s really helped to make her feel like she’s still involved even if I’m doing something for the new baby and has meant we’ve so far avoided any negative feelings towards Taya. She’s just such a proud big sister.
Keep their routine
Easier said than done when you have a baby that needs your constant attention I know but where you can, try to keep your older child’s routine the way it was.
If they always go to bed at 7pm, stick to it even if it means you feed the baby a little earlier than you need to just to make sure you’re ready to do bed time at 7pm.
If you always attend a play group or class on a certain day, try to get there as often as you can because it helps them to know that the new baby isn’t taking the things they enjoy away.
Children thrive on routine, it gives them structure and understanding and can have a really negative impact on their behaviour when it’s broken and that is just an added stress you don’t need when you’re adjusting to a new baby.
Split your time
You might feel like your time is constantly split between your children already but I’ve found it really helpful to make sure I spend time with Amelia on her own and with Taya on her own too.
For example, as soon as Taya falls asleep (in her cot or swing chair) I get an activity out with Amelia and we make the most of the time when it’s just us. We’ve done colouring, baking, crafting, play dough. Whatever she wants to do whilst she has my undivided attention.
At the moment I’m very lucky that Amelia will still take an afternoon nap and whilst she’s in bed, that’s time for me to get down on the floor with Taya and play with her. We use the play gym, do tummy time, sing nursery rhymes, play peek-a-boo or sometimes we just sit and have cuddles but I know I’m giving her my attention when so much of it is taken up by her older sister.
Yes I could spend the nap times doing jobs around the house, the house would definitely be cleaner and tidier if I did but I love spending one on one time with both of them so the dishes will have to wait.
Give yourself extra time
One thing I have found that really helps is telling myself (and my husband) that we absolutely most definitely MUST be out the door by…30 mins before we actually MUST be out the door. This means you stand a chance of being out the door when you really really have to be.
I’ve made that sound really complicated; let’s say you have to be somewhere by 12pm, you NEED to be in the car by 11.30am or you’ll be late. Tell everyone that you MUST be in the car by 11am.
It’ll probably be 11.28 by the time you’re actually in the car so although you’re 28 mins late, you’re actually right on time and no one needs to be super stressed about your toddler insisting on doing their own shoes or the baby wanting a last minute feed.
It also helps to pack your baby bag the night before, or at least make a list of all the things you need to pack so you can just grab and go once you are all ready, 28 mins late.
So, these are my top tips for transitioning from one to two children; just remember – to your children you are the whole world, they don’t care if the dishes are washed or your 28 mins late leaving the house. They just want your time and your love, everything else can wait.