Having a toddler and a young baby is something that at first can seem very daunting, but many people are in the same situation, so you are not alone. I have personally experienced this as my daughters are a year apart, and I always remember the doctors initial reaction to me when we found out that I was pregnant; he asked me how I felt and whether I had a good support network- there I was holding a 5 month old in the doctors surgery and finding out that I had another baby on the way.
You will have had 9 months to prepare your toddler for the changes which are about to take place, but how your toddler will react and what the reality of having two young children will feel like will remain a mystery until it actually occurs. In order to make life a little easier for yourself, your toddler and your new baby, it’s important to consider the following:
1. Support network
It is important to use the support network around you so that you feel less stressed and this will help you to enjoy this special time more. If you have a partner, family or friends nearby, ask them to keep an eye on your baby, so you get to spend quality time with your toddler. That one on one time will be much appreciated!
2. Quality time
As babies are very demanding, it can be easy to leave your toddler to play or fend for themselves when you are on your own with two kids (or more!). This can be hard for them as they are used to having your full undivided attention. Whilst your baby is napping, try to find an activity to do with your toddler that they enjoy.
It may be reading some of their favourite books, drawing a picture or playing a game. Baking is a fun activity, as you can make something together and reap the rewards later, when it is ready to eat!
I remember Jannah at the age of 2 coming upstairs with me to settle Chloe, and her looking forward to story time with mummy.
3. Involving your toddler
Make your toddler feel like they are helping you with your baby. Letting them get the things you need together for nappy changes or getting them dressed, will allow them to feel involved. When your baby’s eyes follow them around the room, tell them that the baby is watching and learning from them. This will allow your toddler to feel like the important role model which they will be as they grow up together. Another way of involving your toddler is to purchase a baby doll, and let them change their “baby” whilst you change your newborn.
4. Getting out and about
While leaving the house may seem like an uphill struggle, getting out in the fresh air will benefit all of you. If your toddler is walking confidently allow them to burn off some energy in the park and your baby will enjoy the fresh air too! Soft play centres are great as you can let your little toddler let off steam, but there are many lights, colours and objects which will stimulate your little one at the same time.
It is important to remember that you are not alone. When you feel like they are getting on top of you, ask for help, get support and don’t be afraid to reach out. There will be someone out there who can give you a bit of time out and support you. Cherish every moment with your children as they do grow fast and with time you will settle into a good routine that means toddler and baby are getting quality attention.