IS THREE REALLY THE MAGIC NUMBER WHEN IT COMES TO CHILDREN?
Posted by: Sue Atkins
The Royal Baby is due anytime so I have been working with Care.com thinking about the difference going from 2 to 3 children really makes.
Care.com is the world’s largest service for finding and managing care with more than 27 million members worldwide. They are useful for finding and managing family and child care which supports your family, whether it’s in finding a reliable, well vetted, experienced babysitter to finding a dog walker or cleaner to help you once in a while with clearing up the mess 3 kids can make!
Here are my top 5 financial tips to help on Care.com
Here are my 30 top tips when you’re moving from 2 – 3 kids
1. Have a routine in place before your baby arrives. Naptime/rest time and playtime are a normal part of the day so let your new baby’s presence fit in naturally with your family routines.
But also try & be flexible too, as all babies have their own personality!
2. Let children help you with your new family member. It’s a good idea to let older children help with your new addition, as it will bond them with their new sibling avoiding upset and jealousy later
3. The family calendar is real. Keep it on your iPhone and also on a whiteboard in the house complete with colour-coding for each person.
4.Have one-on-one time with each of your children. This is a tricky balance. You want to make sure you give each child individual time with you, just don’t spread yourself too thin. Find naturally easy times to connect, chat, play and listen to your child individually at times.
5.Find unique ways for your older children to love the baby. Some children are natural baby lovers and it will be love at first sight. But also remember other kids can feel jealous of having to share your time and attention….. nip sibling rivalry in the bud. Create the ‘We Team Mentality’ in your home and watch your family flourish.
6.Be prepared for stressed children. Adding a baby to the family is stressful on everyone. It will take your children some time to adjust, just like it takes you time to adjust. I think older children can have a harder time with the new baby than a younger child. Older children are more aware of what is going on than toddlers. Be mindful that it can manifest itself in not sleeping as well, night terrors and clinginess.
7.Don’t blame things on the baby. Don’t say you can’t do something because of the baby. A simple example is when you are pregnant. If you can’t play and be as active as you used to be, don’t say “The baby in my tummy makes it really hard for me to run.” Say, “My body is tired today and I can’t move quickly at the moment.”
8.Send your older child to their grandparents (or somewhere you trust) It’s sometimes a lovely treat, and a good idea, for your older kids to split time between both grandparents houses so that your partner is able to be with you at the hospital and so that you have the first couple of days home without any other children – just you and the baby. It helps to give you time to get everything in order and to get to know your new baby, particularly if they were premature or had complications. It means that you have no one else to worry about for the moment and can focus on getting to know your new baby. You’ll be anxious for your other kids to come home by the end, but it is great to have the peace and the lack of mess for the first day or two!
9. Nap: Getting a nap in daily can be really hard with three children. But if you can do it, absolutely do it. Really work it in to your daily routine if at all possible for at least the first month. Delegate and rest, you will heal faster and you will be nicer!
10. Schedule Balance: Work out a simple schedule so you can devote your full attention to your baby and also give attention to your other children at least for the first 4-8 weeks. Babies need a lot of sleep during the first weeks and months. So take advantage of chatting, reading or playing with your other children when the baby is asleep. Also your new little one will wake up more and be able to handle the noise and hustle and bustle better if you keep it simple to start with.
11.Keep Your Baby From Overstimulation: With two other children running around, it is very easy for your baby to get overstimulated. KISS IT – Keep It Simple Stupid! – find down times, and quiet times for everyone.
12.Keep Life Simple: Accept the help people offer. Accept the offer from people to do some housework, cooking or ironing. Don’t jump into life full speed ahead. Don’t try to prove that you are Super Mum – just enjoy these precious moments.
13.Have Another Adult: Take up Paternity Time & get your partner to bond with the baby – skin to skin, washing clothes, cooking, shopping or cuddling and soothing your baby. It would also make napping each day a possibility.
Most babies are highly sleepy the first two weeks of life, so you might find it a bit more advantageous to get dad take that time off around when your baby is 3-4 weeks old instead.
14. All Other Newborn Tips Apply: All new born tips still apply because you still have a newborn. Honestly, it is a bit harder to take care of yourself if you have more than one child because you have less time in the day available to yourself. Most of it is taken up by your baby and older children. It’s definitely more of a challenge but not an impossible task! It can seem daunting, but you can do it!
I think the reality of the transition is different for everyone. It will depend on your baby and on your personality.
There are things you can do to make it easier on yourself, especially having a routine in place with older children, accepting help when offered, and taking things slowly once baby arrives.
Other things to consider
15) CLEANING. Parents of two children may often experience the unfortunate sensation of not being able to clean up as fast as the mess is getting made. This “treadmill” effect is unsettling, and leads to abject helplessness as toys, clothes, and books pile up out of control. Delegate or ask for some help. It’s good for children to feel competent and capable by helping tidy up their mess or clean up their bedrooms. If you can afford a cleaner every couple of weeks it will help reduce your sense of overwhelm.
16) BEDTIME STORIES. When snuggling up to read a book at night, two children can each find a comfy, snuggly spot usually under each arm. With three children, one child will always be left out. This brings about a battle not unlike Joshua V Parker, as your warring factions jockey for space so be mindful of not leaving one child out during story time. Read to your kids individually or cosy up all together and enjoy this special time.
17) MONEY. Clear your debts, change utility provider, have a baby shower, don’t buy new, start a savings account, sell unwanted stuff. Find ways to budget. Perhaps shop in Aldi rather than Sainsbury’s or bulk buy toilet rolls and washing powder.
18) THE “PARENTAL” BED. We all start out with great intentions about, “No kids ever in our bed” rule but exhaustion can win out, so buy a king-sized bed & relax !
19) TRIPLE RELATIONSHIPS. No one ever seems to discuss this, but it’s a biggie. When you have two children, there is a 1-2-1 relationship between them. When you have three children, it doesn’t just double it becomes three. That’s three possible rows going at the same time; three emotional ups and downs,three possible grudges; three possible fisticuffs; three possible long, drawn-out ‘He said /She said’ type conversations . Build in the ‘WE’ Team Mentality right from the beginning – we are the ‘Atkins Family Team’ ……. Concept.
20) NOISE: Parents of two may sometimes complain about having a loud house. But a happy house full of laughter is a joy to behold. Embrace it.
21) PARKING SPACES. When a parent of two saunters across a crowded car park, both children can each be given a hand to hold. When dashing across a crowded car park with three children, however, you have to rely on the “ daisy chain” method. So ‘Talk & Teach your children how to stay safe by not messing about.
22) STROLLERS. With two children, you can still somehow squeeze them into a single stroller when desperation strikes and everyone is absolutely refusing to walk another step more. With three children, however, you’ll have no such luck. So, plan ahead!
23) SCHOOL FORMS. The sheer volume of school forms, science projects, and other papers that come home each day with two children can sometimes feel unmanageable. With three children, however, these stacks of paper will actually grow hugely – so create your own home admin system! Get into a routine of signing reading record books and reading school newsletters – so your kids aren’t the ones who turn up in school uniform on Mufti days!
24) VEHICLES: Travelling with two kids is fairly straightforward. The car seats and booster seats fit in quite easily but with three children you may need to consider changing your car! Now you “need” an automatic sliding door !
25) ENTERTAINMENT AND TRAVEL. From flights to family days out, look for discount package deals or Groupon offers & definitely ask in advance as some hotels find it tricky to fit 5 into a family room.
26) SICKNESS. Any parent of two children will know first hand about upset tummies, sickness and runny noses. With three children, however, the bugs do seem to increase exponentially, as you’ve got more interactions among more kids and their friends. You have been warned!
27) SLEEP. Create routines and stick to them for your sanity!
28) BABY-SITTING. It’s important to keep your relationship with your partner going so plan ahead, find a reliable baby sitter and go out for a pub quiz or the cinema to keep the glow with your partner regularly. You need ‘We Time’
29) EMERGENCIES. Parents of two might have the unfortunate experience of an occasional visit to the ER, whether for stitches, coughs or earaches. Parents of three, however, will likely visit the ER with a bit more frequency !
30) SHARING CARE WITH YOUR PARTNER: When you have two children and your partner takes them out for a while, they are a saviour giving you a break. When you have three children, if your spouse takes just one of your kids out it’s not quite the same so have a coffee and chat about real ‘shared care’ !