Saturday, June 07, 2014

How to keep big kids busy while feeding the little kid

My little boys pulling tissue out of the box while I am feeding their little sister Abigail.

My adopted son was 9 months old when my son joined us.

Then my boys were in the 2's when my daughter Abigail joined us.

And when Hannah joined us, boys were 4 and Abigail was 2.

So this has been the story of my life.

Firstly ... you WILL adjust to this. It will get normal at some point. Being overwhelmed at the beginning is normal. As baby sleeps more and you are getting more rest, it won't seem quite so overwhelming.

Secondly ... I have a link to blog posts I have done on activities for toddlers. I am not one of these really creative women so trust me, if I was able to pull off these activities, you can too. Some of these are things you can during feedings and some are just fun things to do when you have an extra hand (yeah right!)

Some other tips include:
  • If you are able to afford a housekeeper, even once a month DO IT. I live overseas where EVERYONE has a housekeeper. Americans look at housekeeping so differently. We see nothing wrong with going out to eat multiple times or leasing cars, but to get help around our house is considered "only for the rich" and something you shouldn't need because you are a SAHM. I say ... HOGWASH!!!!! This is the BEST money I spend. It allows me so much more time to get other things done and keeps me from feeling overwhelmed.
  • Don't be afraid to use TV or a great learning app on your iPAD ... a bit. I save it for times that I am just having a really hard time and need some help. I have a couple of really good learning apps for my two year old that she can do. This can buy me 15 minutes at an ideal time. I try to keep TV to under 1 hour a day and iPAD to under 30 minutes.
  • Read to them while you are feeding. I did this a lot. Have them sit next to you and do the thing they like (maybe making you pretend food.
In the end, don't be afraid to have them somewhere safe (in other words feed in a room that they can't be making you have to stop feeding to deal with them) and allow them to cry. When you are feeding, they will have to learn to self-play during this time. But as soon as you are done feeding, let them know that NOW I GET SOME MOM. Put the baby down on a playmat and play with them after that.

It will get better. Hang on!

I put a post on Facebook and asked for the input from fellow moms. Here are some other good ideas for helping to entertain other kids when you have a newborn. These suggestions are primarily how to entertain other kids while feeding a newborn, but they can be used at anytime!

  • Busy Bags! 
  • Wonder Markers
  • Melissa & Doug "On the Go Water Wow" practice boards
  • Magna Doodles
  • Tray of different Montessori activities places on a bookshelf 
  • Read to them while nursing/feeding
  • Soft/Quiet books
  • Various iPad learning apps
  • Ask to be a "Mommy's Helper" bringing things you need
  • Time feeds when big sibling is napping or dad is home to try to keep this time to a minimal
  • Puzzles
  • Buckle them into high chair and let them paint with yogurt on their tray
  • Consider a box of goodies or fun activities that kids can only do while mom is feeding
Have another idea? Please share!

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