Inside: Tips to help you learn how to manage two kids under two
Life with two under two is all about surviving…
You’re likely knee deep in diapers, spit up, and tears, (so.many.tears!) plus you have not one, but two kids who depend on you for pretty much everything.
Don’t get me wrong there’s a lot that’s great about having two under two. They have a playmate that’s really close in age, and you’re not quite out of the baby stage yet when you have your next baby so you’re still used to being in that phase, and more.
But you’re definitely in the trenches of motherhood as you’re trying to manage the exhaustion of kids waking up at night, the big emotions your toddler is having as they’re getting used to having a new member of the family, and the Groundhog Day feeling you get from doing the same thing every single day with two little kids.
My kids were 22 months apart and to be honest, I did a lot of whatever was easiest for me because there’s so much of managing two kids under two that’s challenging, that I needed something to be easy!
Finding a groove that works for your family can take a little time, but these tips will help simplify life with two under two to make the trenches more enjoyable.
9 tips to help you manage two kids under two
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Wearing your baby is probably the best tip to survive two under two! When you’ve got a toddler running around, it’s essential to have your hands free to make meals, change diapers, do chores, read and play with your toddler, and more.
It’s also much easier to use a baby carrier in public, than hauling a stroller around or a car seat!
It’s also great because your newborn won’t have to do much to alert you that they need something. This means less crying, which is always a good thing!
Plus your newborn will get used to being on the go, and sleeping when there’s lots of noise. This means they won’t need a completely silent environment for them to be able to sleep.
I remember one particular time my daughter was having a serious meltdown that lasted 45 minutes.
I felt like I was gonna go nuts because it was so loud and long, but my son slept through the entire thing in his wrap!
Thankfully that scenario didn’t happen often, but he definitely was able to sleep no matter what we were doing or where we were which made life a whole lot easier.
Use nap time to your advantage
You didn’t have much time to begin with when you had one kid, but now with two under two, your time is even more limited.
Depending on how old your toddler is, you may be able to synchronize one or two nap times which gives you some time to get chores done or even have down time, (shoot…maybe even take a nap yourself!).
If you can’t synchronize naps or your oldest isn’t napping as often, you can use that time as an opportunity to bond with your toddler.
It’s a huge adjustment for your toddler to not be receiving all the attention anymore. They have to get used to a little baby who needs you all the time, and that can cause feelings of sadness, resentment, anger, or jealousy.
To combat those feelings and reinforce your bond, have one-on-one time with them where you can still do some of your favorite activities together.
These are some other easy ways to show your toddler you love them everyday.
Get out of the house
It can feel really suffocating and isolating when you’re home with a newborn and toddler all the time.
Getting out of the house can be a breath of fresh air for you and your kids. It gives you guys a chance to break the monotony of being around each other all the time and have new experiences.
Your toddler can meet new kids their age to socialize with, they can do activities where they learn new skills, and you can talk with other adults.
Some things you can do are:
-Story time at the library
-Going to play dates at people’s houses
-Going to playgrounds or play areas in the mall
-Or classes for toddlers, like art class, dance class, gymnastics, etc.
Sometimes if it’s a particularly hard day, getting out of the house can totally turn things around!
You won’t always be able to leave the house, so instead you can have friends or family come over.
This can lighten your load because your guests are going to want to hold your baby or play with your toddler. This gives you a much needed chance to chill without having your kids need you for everything.
Plus you can be around other adults who can actually participate in a conversation, (cause talking to your toddler is usually a one sided conversation!) which is a great stress reliever!
Be prepared to feed on the go
Whether you’re bottle feeding or breastfeeding, make sure you have what you need before you leave the house.
If you’re nursing, wear clothes and a bra that make it easy for you to nurse.
Bring a blanket or nursing cover if needed. These are really helpful if you’re still new to breastfeeding or breastfeeding in public and you have a squirming, crying baby while trying to unlatch your bra and clothes. Then you have to latch your baby on!
That alone is really stressful and if you’re private about nursing, the blanket or cover up can help you feel more comfortable and confident knowing everyone isn’t watching what you’re doing.
If you bottle feed, make sure you have enough bottles, nipples, formula, or breast milk with you.
Also make sure you bring snacks for your toddler.
Sometimes you can get so wrapped up in what your newborn needs that you forget something for your toddler.
And trust…you want to avoid a ‘hrage’ (hunger rage) tantrum if you can!
Lower your expectations
Two kids under two is a job in itself.
It’s not possible to do everything every day, (dishes, errands, clean the whole house, laundry, taking care of both kids, etc.)
The stress of trying to get it all done can make you depressed, sad, angry, or guilty that you couldn’t do everything.
But it’s not feasible for you to do all of those things in one day!
What you can do though is write out a list and focus on the most important things that need to get done each day.
Maybe one day your essentials will be doing the dishes, cleaning the bathrooms, and meal prepping.
The next day your essentials might be grocery shopping, having 30 minutes of self-care, and sweeping the house.
By focusing on the most important things each day, you’ll still feel accomplished because you got your to do list done, and you won’t overwhelm yourself and burn out by trying to do too much.
Simplify meal time
If you don’t like cooking or you don’t have a lot of time for it, make things easier for yourself and simplify your meals.
Prep for your meals ahead of time.
Plan your meals out for the week and buy your groceries online. This can save you time because you know exactly what ingredients you need, and how long you need for prep and cook time.
Buying your groceries online also means you’re not having to pack several diaper bags, get your kids in the car, travel to the store, potentially deal with crying kids in the store, and have to get them back in the car to go home, and unload the kids and groceries!
Another option is getting those meal delivery services where you get the ingredients for a specific meal so it’s all ready for you to make.
I don’t enjoy cooking and my toddler always found her way under my feet when I would be in the kitchen, (which drove me nuts!) so anything I could do to make it easier on myself was a plus.
One of the hardest things you’ll deal with is toddler tantrums and your newborn crying at the same time.
You usually can’t help both of them at the same time, so you have to figure out whose needs you’ll meet first.
Also toddler age is usually when kids have tantrums because they’re beginning to test their independence, and when you’re setting and sticking to boundaries it can cause your kid to have big emotions.
Because they’re still little, they don’t know how to deal with those emotions yet, so come up with several ideas on how you’ll deal with your toddler’s tantrums.
Expecting them to happen and being prepared for them helps reduce your reaction to the tantrum, which helps your toddler cope quicker.
You’ll have two kids on you, or need something from you, pretty much every second of the day.
That’s a recipe for burning out.
Parenting is hard, so make sure you make time for self-care because this is essential for your mental health.
You can put on toddler friendly tv shows while you take a longer shower, read a book, sip coffee and just sit, or whatever you enjoy doing.
I used to put my newborn in a baby seat in the bathroom with me, and had my bathroom door open so I could hear my daughter while she watched tv in a safe, baby proofed room.
Yes, having two kids under two presents many challenges, and while it can take a little bit of time for you to find a routine that works for your family, you don’t have to be stuck in Groundhog’s Day mode.
These tips will cut down or eliminate some of that overwhelm so you can enjoy this stage of life!