As soon as you see the for your second child while your firstborn is still a toddler, you know you are in for an adventure managing two children under the age of four. Naturally, the prospect of managing both of them at the same time can sound like an intimidating affair. It can get hectic, tiring, chaotic and sometimes completely crazy! Every new mother of two needs all the help she can get on managing two small humans at the same time. And we’ve got you a little bit of help via our own little list of tips to manage an infant and a toddler without losing your mind.
Your instinct and your interest will be to meet the basic needs of the newborn. But that is no reason to make your toddler feel left out of the whole affair. Involve the toddler in the activities surrounding the infant. Ask them to hand you stuff while you are trying to tend to the younger one. While doing this, you can also tell them how it is important as a family to take care of the youngest and that the toddler plays a very important role in the same.
Making it a three-people activity instead of just the two of you will make the toddler feel like a part of the team. But more importantly, it’ll keep them busy right in front of your eyes.
While this may be slightly difficult to implement, since newborns follow their own schedule, it’ll be extremely helpful to schedule nap times around the baby’s naps. This will make sure you get some sleep, while your first born gets to cuddle next to you. In fact, let the siblings snuggle and nap together. It’ll nurture their bond, and help both kids grow familiar with each other. Teaching your older one to play, talk and spend time with your newborn will give you a much-needed breather.
When the working parent returns home in the evening, let the responsibility of at least one of the kids be transferred over to her/him. Remember, both of you have been working in some form all day. So, it only makes sense to share responsibility when both of you are home. In fact, it is suggested that the working parent take responsibility of both the kids for at least an hour a day. During this time, the full-time parent can either relax, get some domestic work done, or just spend time by themselves.
At younger ages, every day is a new day and there is a high chance your toddler might not react to something the same way every day. What makes them happy today will evoke little interest tomorrow. Same goes for the infant to some extent. Flexibility and foresight will help you retain your sanity. For instance, there’s always a high possibility of your toddler throwing a tantrum just when you’re feeding the newborn. In such cases, set a schedule so you know when you’ll breastfeed the baby. Put on your toddler’s favourite cartoon or give them an assignment that’ll keep them busy while you feed the little one.
Your toddler is not affected by everything that is happening around the newborn, but there will be some marked instances that’ll trigger a tantrum from them. Keep an eye out for such signs. Knowing what triggers a tantrum beforehand, will help you avoid that situation entirely or navigate through it better. For instance, some toddlers don’t like that all their cuddle time with mommy or daddy is now directed towards the newborn. In that case, you can give them some cuddle time during the day.
Looking at all the things the newborn is using or getting, toddlers sometimes might feel that they want the same too. The simplest example can be that of the bottle. The moment a newborn gets the bottle, the toddler, who hasn’t used a bottle in almost a year, may feel the need to use one. So, get two of all such smaller things. So, if and when your toddler asks for those things, you can just hand one, let the excitement/curiosity/eagerness subside. They’ll get over it soon enough, there won’t be any tantrum, and you get to relax like a boss parent.
Most parents prefer having that one place in the house for the newborn for activities like feeding, letting it fall asleep. And it makes sense, since all the baby material can be stacked in one place and can remain easily accessible. But when you have a toddler in the house too, it is advisable that you stock a little bit of everything in most rooms in the house. This way, if your toddler wants you around but in a certain room, you can be there while not having to stop tending to the newborn. It makes it easier to manage both the children if you show mobility for both of them. Also, it puts your newborn into the habit of being able to be fed or fall asleep anywhere in the house. Bonus being that your toddler knows that it doesn’t have to fight or go the extra mile for your attention.
Conditioning your first born for their younger sibling, from as early as during the can definitely help ease the process.Parenting calls for a lot of creativity, flexibility and patience. But with these ways, you can assure yourself that you have done your best and then some more to ensure that both kids remain happier more often.
Have any more suggestions? We would like to hear from you in the comments section.