You’ve got plenty of experience with one child, but two is a different story.
Parents who are expecting their first child usually do everything they can to get themselves ready. By the time you’re expecting to have your second child, you might think that having your second child will be a walk in the park. It’s true that you’re prepared for caring for a newborn, but you’ve never had to take care of a newborn and a toddler at the same time before.
You don’t need to worry yourself silly, but it helps to be prepared for some of the things that you might not have considered.
Here are just some of the things that you should think about before your second child arrives.
- How much they need to sleep during the day
This might sound like an easy thing to prepare for, but don’t underestimate how much a newborn’s sleep pattern can disrupt your normal routine with your toddler. By now, going out with your toddler to do things is an easy routine. Taking your toddler to go grocery shopping, to cafes, and visiting a friend are all pretty straight forward.
But your second child won’t just be able to slip right into that routine. You’ll find that you have to be at home much more so that your newborn can sleep and all these regular trips to the outside world can reduce dramatically.
One option is to try and get things done in the morning when the baby is (hopefully!) more rested after the night’s sleep. You can also organise to catch up with family and friends at your place; they’ll understand.
- Your first child can be too rough
A well-meaning toddler can still hurt your newborn accidentally. They often don’t know their own strength or how delicate a baby can be. What they think is fun and playful might be far too rough for your second child and they could end up getting hurt, hugged too tight, or squashed.
Teaching your first child to be gentle can be difficult since it’s a new and strange concept to them. You’ll have to watch them carefully while you’re kids are playing together so that you can teach them to play gently.
A good way to teach your first child is to practice holding the baby together. You can show your first child how gentle they need to be by patting them as gently as they need to pat the baby.
- How much space you need in your car
It’s pretty much essential to have at least a four-door sedan or hatchback if you have one child. Depending on how big it is, this might be enough for two kids, but you’d be surprised how much your car seems to shrink when your second child arrives. Especially with that rear-facing child seat.
By the time you’ve got two car seats in the back and a pram in the boot, you’ve suddenly got no room left for groceries or anything else you need to take with you. And don’t forget that your kids will get much bigger soon and will load your car up with school bags, sports equipment, and friends, so you might end up needing to buy a bigger car.
As many mums will attest, going to the supermarket on your own is a luxury. So this is a good thing to try and do whenever you can organise your partner or other family members to look after the kids.
- You’ll still need two hands for your first child
When your second child arrives, you might be planning to do all the things you normally do with your toddler while you have your newborn in one arm. But you’d be surprised how often you need both hands for your toddler, how many times do you pick them up every day?
Even something like reading to your toddler while holding your newborn might be more challenging than you think. Be prepared to do some juggling with your kids when the second one arrives (but not literally, of course!).
A good way to handle this is to get your toddler to “help” you when you’re doing things with the baby so that they feel included. For example, you and your toddler can read together to the baby.
Every family is different and every child is an individual, so of course you might have a completely different experience. But it always helps to be prepared!
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