Taking care of one child, especially in their toddler years, can be a challenging task. You have to constantly be on guard and on alert — asking yourself questions like ‘where did they just run off to?’ and ‘what did they just put in their mouth?’ not to mention, ‘why is it so quiet all of a sudden?’. A lot of children often seem like they have an endless supply of energy and curiosity, and watching just one can seem like a full-time job.
And that’s just one child.
When it comes to taking car of multiple children, there’s a lot more energy, and things that you need to juggle. The workload when you add multiple children to your family grows, but then, so does the joy with more little ones around. So, whether you already have or are thinking of having multiple children, we’ve come up with some helpful tips to make it easier for you to manage your growing family.
Set a Mandatory nap time for everyone
Children love routine, and parents do, too! To make it easier on everyone, set up a mandatory nap time for all the kids in your house. It might take some getting used to, but once you set the routine in motion, kids will fall in line. And when they grow a bit older and may not need as much sleep, that’s fine, they can have quiet time. Either way, you will get some much needed you-time every single day.
If you want your life to get a little easier, delegate! Kids love having a bit of responsibility, it can make them feel older and more mature. Give your older child a task to help you take care of their younger sibling. It doesn’t have to be huge, anything that gives them a sense of importance will help them, and help you. Put them in charge of setting the table at dinner time or let your eldest child push the stroller when you go for a walk.
Lean on others
As parents, many of us may be too proud to ask for help, even when we actually need it. If you’ve got family or close friends nearby, reach out to them to help you. You might be surprised by how many step up to the challenge and lend a helping hand. And it doesn’t have to be full-on babysitting, even having an extra set of eyes or hands can make a world of difference when things are getting a little tough for you.
Plan, Plan, Plan!
When it comes to daily tasks, a bit of planning ahead can go a long way. For example, laying out clothes for everyone the night before can really help with a smooth morning routine, especially when you’re in a rush. Setting a weekly menu can help by taking the surprise and negotiation with your kids away when it comes to dinner time.
Make a smart schedule
When kids start to get older, their schedules can get a lot busier. Having to run between soccer practice, swim lessons or piano can become a real headache for you, especially with multiple children. Picking activities that are close in location, time and day of the week can really help you manage it all.
Communicate with your kids
When it comes to managing multiple children, communication is key to understanding and trust. Creating a space at home where you and your kids are able to have open conversations where they can each be heard will create stronger bonds and better communication skills. Try and get one-on-one time with each of them too – lunch dates are always fun! This will not only help you in managing multiple children, but will also help them communicate better in their own lives.
You may think it’s easier having one set rule and approach for every child but children can all be very different. Each comes with their own specific personality, natural talents, challenges, and unique outlook on life. Pay attention to how your children respond to praise, punishment, tone of voice — everything, and try to treat each of them according to their personality and needs. It’ll save you time and energy in the long run.
Accept them, and accept yourself
No matter how hard you try, there will be times when you feel overwhelmed as a parent. It’s in times like these that you need to accept the challenge of parenting, and accept yourself as a parent. Sure, you may have flaws, errors in judgement and occasional slip-ups, but as long as you love your children and try to do what is best for them, you’re doing parenting right.
Make time for yourself
It may feel impossible to find the time, but making time for yourself is super important. You won’t be able to give multiple children the energy and attention they need if you don’t take care of yourself and give yourself time to relax and take a break. ‘Me time’ can be as simple as a relaxing bath, a stroll in the park or doing something creative without the little ones around. Whatever it is that relaxes you, make sure you find the time for it!
At Doona, we’re dedicated to making parenting simpler, easier and more enjoyable. That’s why we created smart and functional travel baby accessories like our Doona Car Seat & Stroller, the fully integrated travel system that transforms in a click; as well as Liki Trike, the most compact folding tricycle on the market. It’s just our way of saying thank you to all the parenting superheroes out there. Happy parenting!