This is a guest post by Kelly at Corner of Happy. She's here to share with you what it's like to parent two kids under two years old and offer some insight and solutions to some of the bumps in the road you'll run into. Enjoy!
I will be the first to admit that having two kids under the age of 2 is no walk in the park. On the up side, chances are you don’t have to restock on brand new baby gear. Also, you’re probably used to running on little to no sleep. However, there are definitely challenges that come with having two under 2.
Whether you are a mom with two under 2, expecting your second child, or even thinking about becoming mom to two kids under the age of 2, I can happily tell you that there are simple solutions to every obstacle that you will face.
Two Under 2 Challenge #1: Different Needs
Children of different ages likely have very different sets of needs and demands. With two young children under 2, both of their unique needs tend to require a lot of attention from their parents.
As the mom of a newborn and a toddler, I found that I am constantly feeding the baby while simultaneously keeping the toddler from jumping off the furniture (or some other crazy toddler leisure activity). Sometimes, I am proud of myself for just making it through a day without anyone get hurt!
There will be times where you are the only adult with your children. At any moment, your kids may need attention from you at the same exact time. How do you prioritize which one you tend to first when you’re the only one there to help them?
Besides growing a second set of arms, you may feel like there is absolutely nothing that will help you meet the needs of your two children. However, there are tips for you to use that will assist you in catering to both of your children’s needs seamlessly.
- Baby wearing – Having a good baby carrier or sling is everything. It's the easiest way to give yourself the second set of arms you have desperately been yearning for. You can safely hold your baby on your chest while you have free arms to help your toddler.
- Creating distractions – When you need to tend to your smallest child, it's a great idea to have distractions for your toddler on hand. Busy boxes, a drawer full of child-safe kitchen gadgets, or some screen time (yes, a little screen time is okay!) should buy you enough time to do what you need to do.
- Childproofing – For your own sanity and the safety of your children, make sure that you childproof all areas of your home so there is nothing dangerous for your kids to get into. So when your toddler is silent in the other room, you can have peace of mind because you've taken care of the dangers that lurk in home.
Two Under 2 Challenge #2: Different Schedules
You may be wondering: how am I going to deal with two under 2 when they have completely different schedules?! With a toddler who naps once or twice a day and a newborn that naps a million times per day, it can be difficult to fall into any sort of groove with your kiddos.
It can seem like an impossible task to create a routine for two kids under 2. Just when one kid goes down for a nap, the other kid wakes up. Just as the first wakes up, the second one is ready for a bottle. When they are done with their bottle, it's time to make a snack for your oldest. It never ends! Does this sound all too familiar?
- Get your baby on a schedule – Children thrive on routines. Once you establish unique routines for each child, you can begin to work on making them fit together. This way, with some time, your kids will start to eat and sleep at the same time.
- Be patient – I know, I know; this is easier said than done! As your newborn gets older and more predictable, things will get more simple. Until then, enjoy the spontaneity that your children bring into your life!
Two Under 2 Challenge #3: Parental Exhaustion
It may seem like you just got your oldest child to sleep through the night. Therefore, you may have just started sleeping through the night for the first time in a long time. Now, with a new baby, you may feel like you are starting over again.
Without a good night's sleep, you can feel like you are just going through the motions. You are running on coffee and it is not uncommon to get snippy and short-fused with your kids and your spouse.
As your children get older, they will naturally become better sleepers. However, in the meantime, you may wonder what you can do to keep your composure while juggling the sleep schedules of two under 2.
- Self care – You may not be able to control the fact that you can't get a solid night's sleep. However, you can control how you feel during your awake hours. Take time to relax and pamper yourself. This will help your mental well-being until you are able to sleep again. (It'll be here sooner than you think, I promise!)
- Date nights – With a lack of sleep, you may be less likely to put the necessary effort into your marriage. It can help to take a step away from the kids every once in a while and have a date night with your spouse. This is a great way to reconnect and recharge. It is so important to keep your marriage a top priority after you have children.
- Shift work – It is completely unfair for one parent to wake up every single time with the baby. You can share the wealth by taking turns waking up. Bonus: during the day, one parent can watch the kids for a little bit while the other catches up on some much needed shut eye!
Two Under 2 Challenge #4: Doing Anything
With one child, it is easy to create a routine when it comes to leaving the house for the day. You pack the diaper bag, grab some snacks, and head out the door for the day. Pretty easy, right? Add another kid to the mix and it can be utter chaos.
Furthermore, although two kids under 2 can be close in age, they can be lightyears apart developmentally. The older child can be running around while you are trying to get your youngest into their carseat. Therefore, leaving the house and heading anywhere can be very challenging.
Instead of hiding in your house until both kids can tie their shoes and function more independently, there are a few simple tips to make getting out of the house a little easier.
- Stroller – Having a stroller that fits both of your children and can grow with your family is key. Make sure that you choose a stroller that fits your family's lifestyle and can go where you go with ease!
- Prepare the diaper bag – Make sure that your diaper bag is always properly stocked. When you get home from an outing, restock it immediately! Include diapers, plenty of wipes, and healthy snacks. That way, when it's time to run out the door, you can just grab and go!
Becoming a parent of two kids under the age of two is not a walk in the park. However, with some simple tips and the ability to go with the flow, it can be the most rewarding thing to happen in your life.