Get Ready for Change!It's inevitable that the daily routine that you've established will change dramatically once number two arrives. The late night feedings, diaper changes, and visits to the pediatrician will be tiring and time-consuming, especially when you're trying to also give your older child love and attention. Getting prepared before the baby arrives is the key to providing a smooth transition for everyone in the family. Yes, you're going to be busy, very busy, but you're more skilled in parenting this time around, and most of what you need to do will seem like second nature. Here are some time-saving tips to keep you organized:
Stock your kitchen with plenty of easy to prepare foods. Have menus of restaurants that provide take-out meals, or even better yet, offer delivery. Now is not the time to be preparing gourmet feasts for visitors or experimenting with new recipes. And, don't beat yourself up if you have to grab a burger and fries every once in a while during this busy time.
Expect that your laundry will dramatically increase. Prepare ahead of time by organizing the laundry room and having plenty of detergent and stain remover on hand. Consider using multiple baskets or hampers to make it easier to sort and fold clothing.
Organize your older child's clothes, toys, and books to make room for your baby's items. The laws of physics suggests that two children will inevitably produce four times as much clutter. Use bins, boxes, and shelves whenever possible to maintain order and throw out or give away any items that are not being used.
Ask for help. You're not going to win a prize for trying to do everything yourself. Don't be bashful about it. Friends, family members, and neighbors will all be more than willing to pitch in. Babysitting services and housekeepers can be very helpful as well.
Prepare Your Older ChildYou can safely assume that your first born will demonstrate a range of out of the ordinary behaviors and emotions. Toddlers who have limited verbal skills may act out physically and have more tantrums than normal. Regression is also very common and can include thumb-sucking, forgetting potty training skills, or becoming unusually needy. Older children might misbehave or refuse to eat. Almost always, these problems resolve in a short amount of time, and most children eventually learn to love their role as the older sibling. To help ease the transition, try the following:
- Include your older child in preparing the baby's room.
- Talk often about what will happen once the baby arrives. Explain how a baby requires lots of care, but assure that there will still be lots of love and attention for him or her.
- Have the baby "give" a special gift to commemorate the special occasion.
- Schedule dedicated time that you can devote just to your older child.
- Play up the benefits of being a big brother/sister. Your child will delight in the new family ranking.
- Hold off on introducing other major changes during the transition. Toilet training, starting a new school, or transitioning from a bottle to a cup should probably wait until things settle down.
- There are many great books on the subject of new baby siblings. Reading these books to your child can help spark discussions about feelings and concerns.
The birth of a baby brings an incredible mix of joy, stress, fatigue, and sheer bliss, and these feelings are only heightened when it's your second child. Two children might be twice the work, but it's also twice the joy.