So, you have decided to have baby number two but now you’re starting to panic about how your going to cope with two children. This month the Parent and Child Society Gibraltar (PACS) is here to offer some guidance on how to make the transition easier.
If you thought having your first child was challenging and changed your life wait until you have your second one. Adding a second child to your family is just as hard but less daunting! There is no longer one child to take care of, feed, wash and entertain and the chores and household organisation has also doubled. Although we will not lie, adding a new child into your family can be hard it is important to remember that you coped from being child free to a parent and you will find your parenting groove again.
Maybe when you were a parent of one child you could still preserve a lot of your pre baby lifestyle however with two children to look after it is hard to feel that you exist as an individual rather than a parent. With one child you can take down time for yourself however with two you may feel that you are constantly bouncing between two activities as one child sleeps another one wakes up. The best advice PACS can offer is to take a deep breath, trust that you have got this, and it shall pass. And when you find 5 minutes of peace take it the dishes or cleaning can wait.
Adding a second child to the family does not only have an impact on you as a parent it has a massive impact on your first born who suddenly must share your attention. It is important to try and involve your first born in your pregnancy so that they can prepare their selves for the arrival of their new sibling. Explain to them that the new baby will not mean that you love them any less but there will be times that they will have to share your time. Once baby has arrived it is important to find a way to share your time between your children. This might mean while feeding your new-born you have your older child snuggling into you while you look at a book together. Experts also think spending special time with your firstborn away from the infant and outside of the home if possible can help, for example let granny or granddad look after the newborn while you take your first born for a special trip to the park. This will help them to still feel that they have your attention. If you can involve them in the baby this will also help get them used to their sibling. Get them to help change the baby’s nappy or give the baby a bath. And while they are helping don’t forget to thank them and praise them for that help, e.g. “Thanks for helping get that nappy you were super quick and helpful” this will help your older child feel more comfortable with helping and included. Another good hack is to look at getting your older child a few new toys that they can do 100% on their own, e.g. puzzles, sticker books etc. These can help keep the bigger one entertained while you need to focus on baby.
The main thing to remember is that the first few weeks and months will be stressful, and you may feel that you have not got it all together, but remember that you are still learning and forming a bond, not only with your new baby but a bond as a new big and better family unit. So, drop the mum guilt and remember you are doing a great job. Also do not forget PACS is here in Gibraltar to offer you support at our play sessions, so once you are ready bring along you little ones to a session and introduce them to the fun and games we have each week! We have volunteers on hand to hold a baby, lend an ear, order a tea or just play with your toddler.
In Gibraltar, the Parent and Child Society have been offering playgroups to the community for the last 10 years. The Society offers several different sessions suitable for all children under the age of 5. So, although it could be scary to come along to a new place, we encourage you to take the plunge and come see what we do at our sessions. For all the dates and times of our current sessions please follow us on our Facebook page Parent and Child Society Gibraltar.