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The adjustment from a couple to being parents was likely a journey filled with ups and downs. You got used to the idea of diverting all of your time and energy to your child, you’ve learned how to adjust your lifestyle to fit their needs, you even managed to get used to the daily routines and sleepless nights. Then, you get pregnant again, have a second child, and quickly realize that parenting two kids presents a whole new layer of challenges.
Your family routine gets disrupted by the needs and patterns of your newborn. You’re trying to make sure the newborn is taken care of while balancing the needs of your older child. Between the two of them, there’s never enough time in the day to get anything done. Chances are the house is a wreck, laundry is backed up, you haven’t had a moment of time for self-care, you and your partner barely have time for each other, and sleep is something you seem to only dream about.
Yes, going from a one-child home to a two is yet another parenting challenge. Fortunately, there are lots of parents of multiple children before you that paved the way. There are actually a lot of things you can do to make the adjustment a lot easier for everyone. Check out this advice below:
Take All the Help You Can Get
With your first child, your parents and/or in-laws may have come for a few weeks to pitch in, then you spent the rest of the time navigating first-time parenthood on your own. This time around, you’re going to need all hands on deck and often. So, if mom or dad asks to come over and watch the grandkids for a while, don’t hesitate to say yes.
They can watch the kids while you take a nap, a shower, get dressed, clean up, or prepare meals. Additional help from friends and family also helps you to balance the needs of your children a lot easier. While you’re tending to the newborn, they can entertain your older child.
Reduce Errands By Ordering Online
Trips to grab groceries or baby products is often a pain in the beginning. You’re trying to lug around two car seats and praying that you get through the store without any conflict. Not to mention, all these errands take up a lot of time in your day (as if you have any to spare). Why not kill two birds with one stone by taking advantage of online shopping?
You can find just about everything you need online. Have your groceries delivered fresh to your front door in just a few hours or order baby clothes, nursing supplies, baby wash, and more online. There are even apps that allow you to have miscellaneous errands (dry cleaning, post office, etc) completed at a small fee.
Keep Your Oldest on a Routine
You’ve spent the past few months or years getting your oldest on a routine. It’s best to try and stick to this as best you can. Routines provide structure and also keep your oldest child busy as you adjust and develop a routine for your youngest child.
Make sure that they still have a morning routine, that they’re eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner at reasonable times, and a solid bedtime routine. You should also incorporate things throughout their day to keep them entertained. This might include signing them up for daycare or enrolling them in classes or programs for fun and education.
Spend Quality Time with Your Oldest Child
Having a new baby in the home is not only a big adjustment for you and your partner, but it’s also a pretty big deal for your oldest child. Some children develop a bit of jealousy and even sibling rivalry as they try to fight for their parent’s attention. You can keep that to a minimum in your household by ironing out time to spend with your oldest child.
Take them out places just the three of you and spend some much-needed family time. Talk to them about how they’re feeling about the new baby, give them praise for being such a good big brother or sister, and just pour all your love and attention into them. This helps them to feel special despite the new addition and can ease their fears and thus reduce the tension between the siblings.
You’ve already learned that there are a lot of challenges to overcome in parenting. Yet, going from one child to two is a challenge for the ages. Rather than getting stressed out or becoming overwhelmed, simply use the suggestions provided above to make the transition easier. Though it won’t be a walk in the park with time, patience, and practice, you’ll soon learn how to develop a system that works best for your entire household.