"I've done this once before," you think. "Surely it can't be that much different the second time around."
But now you have TWO little ones with competing needs and emotions, both vying for your attention and time. Not to mention your partner and friends.
• Relax and Slow Down:
Things are different now. Give yourself permission to accept that. You have physical, mental and emotional limits. Prioritise the times your baby and toddler need you: feeding, eating, bathing/changing nappies and preparing for sleep. Give them your full attention by nurturing them during those moments. Take your time and connect during these times, leave your phone downstairs, keep eye contact, smile and sing a song or do a finger rhyme together. Don't rush these moments (even if there IS poo all up their back). These are times when your babies and toddlers NEED you. Be all in and there for them. Focused nurturing will fill their cups with your love. Outside of those nurturing times, give your little ones some independent time in a "yes" place and fill your own cup.
• Create a Rhythm to Your Day:
You and your baby and toddler will thrive under the predictability of a daily rhythm. While we may be aware of the mantra 'eat, play, sleep' with our babies, our toddlers, too, want the comfort of knowing what to expect and what comes next. They want to know that after you help baby fall asleep, you'll make morning tea together and do a puzzle together before the baby wakes for a feed. During this season, you might need to simplify your day ... eliminate those multiple outings ... opting instead for quality time during the day at home and outside in the back yard or nearby playground.
• Respond Rather than React:
Your toddler will have needs and emotions that need to be met. He may sense that not only is your attention divided but also your love for him. He may communicate this to you through his behaviour--shouting, banging, hitting, screaming, pushing, pulling. Learn to see below the surface to the bulk of the iceberg beneath. "I see you banging that pot. You want my attention, don't you. When I finish helping our baby get ready to sleep, I can't wait to make some music with you."
You don't have to have it all figured out. You have physical, mental and emotional limitations. It is not your job to keep everyone 100% happy all the time, especially if your own emotional well-being is depleted. Look after yourself. You know you can always get in touch with a parent coach at Cradle 2 Kindy Parenting Solutions to help you implement the above strategies. Visit us at www.cradle2kindy.com.au