Top Tips to Cope With Two Children
Top Tips to Cope with Two Children
With a relatively short age gap between our kids, we were the first of our NCT group and the first of quite a few friends to have a second child. Now, as many of them go on to have second children, I am often asked how I coped. Here are my top tips on how to cope with two children in the early days:
- Buy a sling: we agonized over which double pram to buy but in the end, until Jasper was six months old, we mostly got around in the Maclaren and a sling. I used a Kari Me sling when Jasper was tiny, a Wrapsody Stretch-Hybrid Wrap and an Ergobaby when he got older.
- Try to orchestrate at least one day a week when the older child is in alternative childcare: for the first two weeks of Jasper’s existence, we remained in our four days per week contract with our childminder. It was a great weight off my shoulders to know that she was in a happy place that she knew whilst I got to grips with a newborn again. After the first two weeks, we then dropped her days to two per week for the next eight months. As well as giving me a bit of a break (one child is an absolute breeze when you’ve got two – who knew?!), it also gave me the chance to do one or two classes with Jasper – a fraction of what I did with Romilly but at least It was something.
- Let number two fall into your existing routine: from day one, I bathed both kids together (we held Jasper in our arms until he was big enough to go in a bath seat). I’d put both kids in their jammies, feed Jasper (Romilly would ‘breastfeed’ her dollies at the same time!), put Jasper to bed and then go and read to Romilly and put her to bed. Even though Jasper would be awake two hours later, I found it easier to make 7pm his official bedtime too.
- Don’t panic when your partner goes back to work – you’ve got this! The first couple of weeks are so intense and hopefully your partner will have been providing you with plenty of help – getting you drinks, tending to your older child, making meals, etc – that you will wonder how the hell you’re ever going go cope when it’s just you and the two kids. I’ve been there and got that t-shirt. Guess what? You will muddle on through and find your way. I think it took me about two months to feel like I had some element of control over our days but we got there eventually.
- Be prepared for your social radius to shrink! When we just had Romilly, I would travel into London to meet friends, easy breezy navigating trains, escalators, tubes and barely thought anything of it. With two – and especially two under two – if some form of entertainment wasn’t within a 15 minute walk, forget it. It just wasn’t worth the effort! Even now that Jasper’s two and Romilly’s four, the thought of going into London on my own to meet a friend fills me with too much trepidation. Instead, I built a VERY local network of playgroups, classes that worked for two kids and didn’t cost the earth, coffee shops and friends with kids of a similar age who are within walking distance of my house.
- Playgroups will be your saviour: if you didn’t do playgroups with your first, then I’d highly recommend you find some when you have two. They are perfect for toddler entertaining whilst baby is in the sling or in the baby corner if there is one. Plus, there will be so many other lovely mums who understand what you’re going through that when you need to nip to the loo for two minutes of peace and quiet, they will keep an eye on your unruly toddler and give your screaming baby some cuddles while you’re gone.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help: I am the worst person in the world when it comes to asking for help. I generally live my life by the mantra of ‘if you want something done, do it yourself’. Since having kids and particularly having two, there are increasing numbers of occasions when I don’t have any choice but to ask for help. I’ve found mummy circles so supportive and willing to do anything for a fellow mum. As a result, I’m much less nervous about asking and am delighted to return the favour when I can.