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Managing Expectations as a Parent of More than One Child

Parenting is a skill that constantly surprises us – just when we think we’ve got things all sorted, there’s another bump in the road. While this is all part and parcel of the joys and challenges of bringing up children in a modern world, there is one aspect of parenting that many of us struggle with but can’t quite put into words: Second-child Mum/Dad Guilt.

Confronting the Guilt

As the parent of one child, we will encounter plenty of trials but once we introduce a second, third or fourth child to the mix, the landscape shifts significantly. Suddenly we are faced with some big questions.

  • How should I divide my time between my children?
  • My new baby is taking up all my time and attention. Will my older ones feel neglected?
  • How can I continue with milestone training my toddler when a new baby has disrupted the routine?

We are going to focus on the latter question as this is a key challenge faced by parents of two children - a toddler and a new baby. Milestones are all about maintaining an element of consistency but anyone who has ever had a newborn will know that there is barely any sense of routine, especially in those first few weeks. Your energy, time and emotions will be consumed by the baby’s needs and you may often find yourself feeling like you’ve let your toddler down.

Conduct Pre-Prep

A new arrival will bring plenty of change, but any parent will know this well in advance which is why you need to prep for the situation. If you normally supervise potty training but your partner will take over in the aftermath of the birth, have him/her take the reins long before they need to.

This also applies if you’re going to call in reinforcements such as live-in help inside or outside the family (a nanny/your mum). Your toddler will quickly adapt to this new situation and they won’t associate the new arrival with any disruption to their potty-training routine, which may otherwise have had a negative impact.

Talk It Out

As with any aspect of supporting your child’s growing independence, it pays to be open and let them know what is going on. Explain that they will soon have a little brother or sister who will take up lots of mummy and daddy’s time but that you will both still have time to give to them. Support this conversation by explaining that their little brother or sister might want to take part in their sibling’s milestones, which helps to plan for the inevitable bathroom trips that will happen with the baby in tow.

Stay on Track

And it’s not just children that need to talk. The worst thing you can do is let things get too much on top of you and take it out on your children. Any animosity that could be remotely connected to milestone training (e.g. losing your temper with your toddler for taking too long on the loo because you’re exhausted) should be nipped in the bud before it happens. Take some time for yourself to have coffee with a friend or, if leaving the house is too much effort, wrap yourself in a blanket on the sofa after the kids have fallen asleep and give anyone in your close support network a call. That’s what friends and family are for.

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The Family Seat is built with an ergonomic, solid construction resulting in a strong, stable seat to give your child confidence during the potty-training process. For advice on any aspect of potty training and for any help purchasing a Family Seat, email our team at info@familyseat.com . Family Seat supports the children’s communication charity I CAN, who are experts in helping children to develop the language, speech and communication skills that they need to thrive in our 21st-century world.  We donate 50p to I CAN on each and every seat purchased through the official Family Seat website.

 

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