No matter which way you look at it, having kids is hard work. One child is tricky enough, but more than one? That’s relentless! However, parents have discovered lots of ingenious ways to make life easier when it comes to childcare, and thankfully they’re willing to share. Here are 7 great tips from parents of multiple kids.
1. Employ A Little Helper
‘If you’re at home alone with your two kids, why not ask the older one to help you out with various tasks, such as fetching the baby’s diaper and changing equipment, or asking them to pick out an outfit for you or the baby. You could incentivize this or even turn it into a little game - whatever engages your child best. Not only is this helpful for you, but it also teaches your kids the importance of focusing on and completing daily tasks, and gives them a sense of purpose. If your child is bored or misbehaving, this is also a great way to focus their mind for a short while at least!’
2. Stay Handy
‘Multitasking is absolutely key when looking after your kids, and while you might be able to direct them verbally, you only have two hands! Therefore, make sure you always keep one hand free especially when you’re out and about. Consider investing in a baby harness to stay hands-free, opt for a backpack instead of a shoulder back for diapers and extra clothes, and choose a buggy with a large crossbar handle that you can push one-handed. Trust me, you’ll appreciate the free hand when your little one tries to make a run for it!’
3. Embrace Childcare
‘Childcare is undeniably expensive, but believe me, it is so worth it. You shouldn’t feel bad about sending your older kid off to nursery while you focus some of your time and attention towards your new baby, which I’m sure you’ll be desperate to do. Utilizing childcare not only gives you precious time to bond with your newborn and complete tasks around the house etc., but it provides your child an opportunity to learn, play, and socialize with peers. You’ll likely notice considerable advances in areas like their vocabulary, speech and overall confidence.’
4. Need Toys? Get Creative
‘Something you learn as a parent - and this goes for pet owners as well - is that often your little ones aren’t interested in playing with their toys, they’d rather play with whatever object it is you’re currently using. It might be a TV remote, a coat hanger, or often a set of car keys! This can be frustrating at times, especially if you actually need to use what they're desperate to play with or if that particular object is extremely delicate or valuable. However, preempting this fascination with the mundane is a great way to entertain your kids. Consider choosing two or three things around the home that you don’t really care about, such as an old computer mouse or a plastic kitchen utensil, then go about making a big deal of these objects. Your kids will be over the moon playing with ‘grown up’ things, while you can rest easy knowing that no damage is being done!’
5. Take The Help
‘It’s common for parents to feel guilty about asking for - or accepting - help from friends and family, but you really shouldn’t. It’s worth remembering that those without kids of their own, or kids who have left home, aren’t under the constant stress that you are. A busy few hours babysitting won’t be as overwhelming for them as you think it might be! If you are offered help, ask them for something that will genuinely lighten your load, rather than suggesting what you think they’ll like. For example, if your 5-year-old has a dentist appointment, why not suggest to your mum that perhaps granny might like to take him?
6. Meal Prep
‘Preparing dinner straight after breakfast might seem weird at first, but it’s a great habit to get into. Generally, mid-morning is a time when you can be at least fairly productive, and kids are usually in a far better mood earlier on in the day before the fatigue has set in. It’s not just their mood though - you’ll have a lot more energy and enthusiasm to cook in the morning, and it’s a satisfying task to check off your list, meaning you can focus your energy later in the day to bath time and bedtime stories.’
7. Hone Your Craft
‘Craft is such a wonderful activity for kids of all ages, and it’s something that they can all do together. You don’t need to spend much either, and don’t be concerned about buying proper kits - a few crayons, some colorful paper or card, and some plastic scissors is all you really need to keep them quiet! Spending time doing craft is also very good for your kids, it allows them to express their creativity and teaches them the importance of patience and persistence.’