Congratulations on finding out that you're expecting...again! As you begin to gather baby clothes, take a childbirth ed "refresher" course, and prepare for a postpartum season of rest, it's common to have questions about what life will look like with TWO (or more) kids. Every baby brings new challenges and joys, but there is always a period of adjustments for kids AND parents. We've reached out to local parents and clients and asked them for some of their best tips and advice. What would you add to our list? Leave your suggestions in the comments so we can all encourage one another!
Verbally affirm your love throughout the day, because they need to hear it. When things are chaotic and feel different, it's important that your older kids have that reminder that you're still their biggest fan.
Remind them that big emotions are normal, and you have them too. Discuss how to work through them. Role play how to respond when one (or both!) of you is emotionally struggling. Offer healthy ways to share those feelings and ways of coping.
Find games you can play while sitting down to nurse or give a bottle. Whether it's a card or board game, or something you make up as you go, this is a great way to connect with an older child while also caring for your infant. It can be helpful for the kids to see mom can balance the needs of both (sometimes).
When emotions are high, MOVE. Take a walk, play outside, have a dance party! Whatever it looks like, that extra movement is going to be helpful for both body and brain. Extra points if it's something a little silly.
Utilize distraction when necessary. We all need a little redirection at times.
Keep lots of snacks on hand. For you AND the kids. Everyone feels better when they are nourished and hydrated.
Involve them in baby care whenever possible. Walk them through different aspects of baby care and give them opportunities to step up and help out. You never know when they will need those skills later in life.
Don't come at us, but yes, SCREEN TIME can be a blessing. Things like “brain break” videos or art tutorials on YouTube are a simple way to utilize screens without it being a massive drain on little brains. Podcasts and online history classes. Audiobooks or nature programs geared towards little ones. A personal favorite of ours- "Art for Kids Hub" for kid friendly drawing resources! Who knows, maybe you'll discover a new hobby or passion to share with your kids!
Find ways to laugh together, as often as possible. It's good medicine.
Read aloud while nursing or “nap trapped”. Some of my fondest memories as a mother were reading from an old classic while my kids were scattered about the room. We always allowed for fidgeting and wiggles during our read alouds too. Some kids simply listen better while their hands are occupied. Some good "quiet" toys options are Legos, sketch books, blocks, etc.
Look for ways to connect in small ways throughout the day. Even something quick like a walk to the mailbox or singing a favorite song together can meet some of those emotional needs without using a ton of energy.
When possible, ask a trusted friend or family member to scoop up the older kids for a fun outing or activity. That extra one-on-one time can make a big difference! We recognize this isn't an option for everyone. ❤️