How to create quality time with your toddler when a new baby arrives
My second son was born when his brother was just over 2 years old so I know what it is like to try to fit in quality time with each of them plus being a working mom!! Not easy and honestly, sometimes one is so tired one just wants to plonk down and have some “me” time, not play with a toddler or comfort an irritable baby simultaneously!!
I started to think about how all of us could get quality time together so that my toddler could feel just as special as his newborn brother (after all, a new baby DOES take up a lot of attention!) and here are 5 of the things I did when my second little one was born so as to spend as much time as I could with my toddler while still seeing to the baby.
1: Take advantage of Newborn Nap time
What a blessing it is that most newborns sleep a great deal of the time!! This is obviously the easiest time to give your full attention to your toddler. If I was very tired, I would try to sit quietly with my eldest and read one of his favourite books to him. If I felt more energetic, then out would come the building blocks and we would build whatever his imagination stretched to! We did puzzles together or finger paint. If ever I had an abundance of energy, I would ask my toddler what HE wanted to do with me and provided it was within the bounds of reason, we would do that! Be warned with this idea though – sometimes a toddler will come up with something you just cannot do at that time, like going to the park and leaving the newborn alone!!!
2: Date time
It is very, very useful to make an arrangement either with your partner or a friend or a relative to come in for an hour or two while you head out into the wide outdoors with your toddler. Even a short time will probably mean the earth to your toddler as he or she will feel so special to be doing something “alone with mom”. Outings could be popping around the corner to your local park, treating him or her to an ice cream or even just going to the library or to the shops if you are brave enough!
3: Little Helper
Most toddlers love being thought “old” enough to help out with their new sibling, believe it or not! Just picking up the baby’s dummy and placing it gently in baby’s mouth can make your little one feel so special! Or bringing the blanket to wrap baby in when you are feeding your newborn. Then you can all cuddle up under the blanket, while you carry on feeding your baby. Helping out at bath time is also much liked by toddlers….they can help by putting the bath toys in the bath and standing by with the towel ready for when baby is lifted out of the bath.
4: A time and a place
Your toddler has got used to doing certain things on certain days and although they can’t tell the time, they are pretty good at knowing what their routine normally is! Try to keep the routine that they are used to, although this may be easier said than done if you have a newborn determined to create his or her own routine!!! If you have an easy going newborn, then it becomes a doddle to make the toddler’s routine part of the baby’s as well. The tough time is when you have a “difficult” newborn who wants what he wants when he wants it!!! I think the only way around this one is to rope in your partner! Maybe get him to take care of the irritable newborn whilst you bath your toddler, for instance.
5: To do or not to do, that is the question!
Most of us are determined to keep our house clean and tidy but every now and then just have a day off from the cleaning and rather spend that time with your toddler! Of course, you could have him “help” with the cleaning, but don’t expect a sparkling house – rather make a game of it and only for half an hour!!! Another useful tip, is to pick up all the toys, do the dishes, wipe the counter tops all before falling into bed. That way you can start the next day with a relatively tidy house before the chaos begins all over again.
If you happen to be a working mom, it is important to make the most of the time you have at home when you are on maternity leave as, once you return to work, the dynamics of spending quality time with both your baby and your toddler change. You may then have to spend your quality toddler time either early in the morning before going off to work or when you get home. Once your newborn is in bed for the night you could make the 30 minutes or so before your toddler has to go to bed as well a special time for him or her just by reading a story or watching one of their favourite TV programs together (even if you have watched it 1 million times already!!!)
If you would like to share any other ideas of how to spend quality time with your toddler when you have just given birth to another little one, I’d love to read them! Use the comment box below or email me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org
Yours in lifestyle newborn photography