7 tips for coping with two under 2

Juggling a toddler and a newborn can be a challenge, but we have tips to help you cope…

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Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton gave birth to Prince George and Princess Charlotte a mere 22 months apart. And as any experienced mother knows, such a small age gap between babies is filled with challenges for you.

Even with the best help money can buy, you’ll be in for a busy, and potentially fraught, transition. However, coping with a baby and a toddler doesn’t have to be the stuff of nightmares.

Chireal Shallow, a child psychologist and mum of four, says that although it’s hard work, with a bit of planning, “two under 2” can be a fun and rewarding experience. She offers seven key tips on how to cope…

1. Make a basket of toddler toys

“Pack a small basket with a few toys or books for your toddler and leave it in the middle of the living room floor when you go to bed. This will buy you 15 minutes’ peace in the morning while you see to the baby,” Shallow says.
“One day, fill it up with wooden spoons and plastic bowls. The next day, make it toy cars or musical instruments. Look at the different types of senses, learning or interaction you might help to provoke.

It’s also important that you don’t put in too much, Shallow says. “Stick to a few items. You’re trying to capture your child’s attention and that’s best done by not giving too many distractions.”

"Being surrounded by your love will all help your children feel content and comforted."

2. Be present in every room

With two tiny children, it’s inevitable that you’re going to feel more needed than you ever have in your life. But Shallow says you have ways of preventing it from feeling as though you’re spread too thinly.

“I think it’s a nice touch for parents to record themselves reading their child’s favourite stories. If you leave this in a simple player in your toddler’s room, they can listen to your voice whenever they want to by just pressing a button. Similarly, I’d put up big pictures of you for your new baby by their changing mat. They will find your face soothing, even if someone else is changing her diaper. Being surrounded by your love will all help your children feel content and comforted.”

3. Get the double stroller ready

With two little ones under 2, your tandem stroller is going to be central to your life. “It pays to research which is going to work best for you well before the birth,” says Shallow.

“Buy it early and put it together. You should practise putting it up and collapsing it, and putting it in the car. The last thing you are going to want to do is struggle with it while trying to soothe a tired newborn.”

Four more tips for juggling the care of a newborn and a toddler…