If you have recently become or will soon be a parent of two children under the age of two, you’re probably looking for ways to make the transition smoother. We can’t promise it will be plain sailing but we’ve rounded up our best tips for making daily life a little easier.
Carry the baby
Invest in a decent baby carrier so you can carry the younger of the two with you while keeping your hands free to tend to the older child. If you do a lot of walking or use public transport, you might find it easier to carry your baby and have your toddler in a single stroller, rather than dealing with a bulky double buggy.
Every parent of two or more knows the struggles of dealing with multiple needs at the same time. Although it’s difficult to choose who to respond to first, a good rule of thumb is to deal with physical needs before psychological ones. For example, if your toddler falls over and hurts their knee, deal with that before picking up the baby who is crying because they want to be held. On the other hand, a hungry baby trumps a toddler who wants you to help them find their favourite toy.
As tempting as it is for everyone to stay in their pyjamas until after lunch, try and get everyone dressed and ready for the day as soon as they wake up. It’ll get you all in the right frame of mind to face the day, be more productive and means you can get out the door as soon as you need to – essential for those times when your toddler needs to let off some steam outside.
Strategically place multiple changing stations around your home, fully stocked with the essentials for both children. That means when one child needs their nappy changed, you don’t have to drag the other one upstairs with you or be tempted to leave them unattended while you dash out of the room.
Box of tricks
Let’s face it, there will be times when you need your toddler to give you 15 minutes’ peace with the baby. Try keeping a hidden box filled with toys, small games and maybe a couple of snacks and only bring it out when you need to distract your toddler – the novelty will keep them occupied while you grab those few minutes.
Get them involved
Involve your toddler with looking after your baby by asking them to complete simple tasks, such as fetching a nappy or picking out an outfit. Not only will you get some help, your child will feel included and ‘grown-up’, helping things go a little smoother.
Make some noise
You might have made use of white noise with your first child, but it’s even more useful with two. Toddlers can be pretty loud and prone to interrupting your baby’s naps – a white noise machine in the nursery while your baby sleeps will help drown out shrieks, cries and all the other delightful sounds emitted by a rambunctious toddler!
Don’t say no
At times, things will be chaotic and your toddler will do things they shouldn’t. Try and cut back on saying the word ‘no’ and save it for when you mean business – otherwise it will begin to lose all meaning. If your child isn’t in any immediate danger, leave them to it and let them work it out themselves.
Keep your children’s clothes separate in your changing bag to make them easier to find when you need them. Large zip-lock freezer bags are excellent for this – they’re cheap, take up barely no space and you can easily see what’s inside them.
Food for thought
When you’re weaning your baby, try and prepare meals that both children will eat. Generally speaking, babies are less fussy than toddlers so think about foods that your older child enjoys that are soft and manageable enough for the little one, or can be easily cut into smaller pieces. This is a great opportunity to try the baby-led weaning route, although you might find it happens organically!
Preparation is key
Preparation is If you’re going out the next morning, prep the changing bag the night before and leave it by the front door. Think extra clothes, snacks, a clean bottle, toys and anything else the kids might need. If there’s something you can’t pack until tomorrow, write it down on a post-it note and stick it on the bag.