Have you ever wished you had an extra arm to pick up all the kids who need a snuggle? Or have you ever experienced that you don’t know how to divide yourself equally between your kids and stay somehow sane.
As a mom of three I experience these challenges daily and would like to share some advice that works for me.
1.Make time for each child
It is important in a multi child family that every child gets “special time” with each parent. It can be simple task such as “Can you please come to the supermarket with me and help me to select the bread that we normally buy” or it can be more concrete time like a board game, puzzle or game. Get the child to choose what they would like to do.
This can also form part of a weekly “rituals”. You can use a timer (Buy for about R30 at Mr. Price home/PnP). Every child can have 7 minutes where the other kids can watch. If the siblings interfere with the child who is busy with their special time., they simply lose their privilege that evening.
It might take a time before they grasp the concept, so be patient, firm and consistent.
2.Chat to every child
Make sure that you make time to have a conversation with every child each day. Talk about challenges, fears, dreams. Make sure that you stay connected with your children.
A family can have “high-low” conversation during supper. What was your “High” and what was your “low”. Be prepared to share your own “high-low” as well.
You can also send your kids to bed 10 minutes earlier that you can have an individual chat to them before they fall asleep.
3.Get elder children involved with younger ones
Your older kids can feel proud to do certain task to help you. It can be to fetch the dummy (younger ones) or to dress the new baby (older kids). The older one will feel like an asset and the baby will be less of a thread.
Remember to pay very close attention to the older child when the baby starts to “get cute”. One tends to pay a lot of attention on the new born and then when the new born is between one and two years old one forgets that the older one needs special attention as the baby is very cute and walks, talks etc. for the first time.
4.Make sure to keep your finger on the pulse of the development stage
We are often very excited about our first born, read every book, note every developmental milestone that we tend to forget about the second or third child. Make sure that you stay in touch with every child’s dreams, development, ambitions.
On a busy day when you had time for nothing else. Read a book. Read, read, read! Poems, books, anything. This is an easy way to combine children from different ages as well. The value of literature is enormous. Vocabulary, Fantasy, imagination, concentration. Or even just to be grateful (that we don’t live near a forest like Hansel and Gretel) or grateful that you have parents who won’t leave you in a forest. It also addresses to many needs. To sit (or lie) close to you. Join your local library and start reading to your kids.
6.Make time for yourself
It is important that you do something for yourself that you enjoy and that recharge you. You can’t give and give without refueling from time to time. Decide on something that energize you. Speak to your husband (or support system) to put together a plan that you can make time for yourself. Join the gym, make time for your hobby, go out with your friends, make time for yourself!
7.Prioritize your marriage
Children can put a lot of strain on one’s marriage. Make sure that you prioritize to spend time with your partner. Surprise one another, put effort in, make sure you celebrate your anniversary. Never stop praying for one another and your marriage as well as your friend’s marriages!
Cuddle, play, enjoy and have fun with your kids! Even though we often wish we were an octopus with more tentacles to help.
Our kids are the biggest gift from God. My prayer is that you will enjoy them.
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About the author
Riekie le Roux. Wife of one. Mom of three. Qualified nursery school teacher. Evergreen consultant since 2010. Education and child development are my passion, my heart and my interest. I love to see parents hearts turned towards their children.
You can contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org