3 ways to help manage the transition from one to two kids
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When you have your first child, everyone tells you that your life is going to change. You no longer have your freedom. You can’t go anywhere, anytime you want. Now you need a babysitter if you want to go out with your husband or friends one night. You are now responsible for a whole other life. And I agree – life does change drastically when you have a baby. I remember coming home from the hospital with my daughter, Peyton, and thinking, what am I supposed to do now?? But then you slowly start to figure it out and you deal with each of their issues, problems and changes and you think, I got this. I can handle whatever comes my way.
Now enter baby #2 and everything is new again. Little brother or sister needs more attention and you are even more tired than the first time, and even though you may have just done everything having to do with a baby only a couple years before, it feels like a lifetime ago. Because big sister/brother hasn’t seemed like a baby to you in SO LONG!
Then there is the juggling – it’s just like at a job when they ask if you can multi-task, but you are now trying to prioritize which child needs what more at that exact moment – does baby need their nose wiped or does big sister need her milk refilled? Can you push off changing that diaper for 2 more minutes so you can rush your toddler into the bathroom so they don’t have an accident? There is so much more judgement and mom-guilt in not being able to meet both needs at the exact moment that they need it.
I certainly haven’t completely figured it out and know it will continue to change as the kids grow older and problems, wants and needs become different, but almost a year after my son was born, here are some tips to help manage the struggle:
- When both kids are screaming for something and you feel at your wits end because you can’t please both, take a deep, calming breath and address one at a time. The other one will likely continue to scream, cry, whine, but if you can square one away, you can focus on the other.
- Try to let big sibling help with the needs of their younger brother or sister. It’s almost inevitable that once I need to focus my attention on Gage, big sister Peyton wants something. I try to include her in what I”m doing – for instance, if I am changing his diaper, she gets the diaper for me so she feels like she is helping and it re-focuses her attention.
- Try to anticipate what each may want. Easier said that done right? I try to ask Peyton questions as I am getting something for Gage – for instance, 9 times out of 10 if I am making Gage a bottle, she will want some milk just as I sit down to feed him. So I ask her as I’m making his bottle so then both are satisfied. At least for that moment! 🙂
Learning to handle more than one kid is definitely not easy but it does get easier as they grow and can do more things on their own or help more often! Keep at it mama – you are doing great!