Friday, 12 October 2018

"You've Got Your Hands Full!" - 5 Top Tips for Coping with Three Under Three

If I hand a pound for every time someone said that to me, I'd have no money worries for a very long time! It's true, things are busy but there are plenty of people who have more children than I do and they seem to manage it brilliantly so I tend to deflect any comments like that. Nonetheless, as my youngest nears his 1st birthday, I thought I would put together a little post all about the things that have helped me juggle three young children.

1. Allow yourself time to readjust. There's no doubt about it, every time you add a new member to your family, it takes a while to get used to the new dynamic and I think that would be my first tip: don't put too much pressure on yourself and take your time as a family to work out which routines are still manageable and the ones that really aren't worth stressing over. Our youngest was born a month before Christmas last year and my husband didn't take paternity so it wasn't until the holidays that we actually managed to pause, come up for air and take stock. You'll find your own way and the thief of any joy in that is comparison.

2. Don't sweat it. There are days when things just won't go the way you'd imagined and it's important to go with the flow otherwise it's a bit like fighting the tide. When you can, give your little ones the space to make their own agenda for the day and you'll all find it much more enjoyable.

3. Get outdoors. It's so hard in those early days to get everyone dressed and out of the house but, cabin fever may be the very reason why everyone is finding things a bit of a struggle. Who cares if you all look like you've dressed in the dark?! Own that with confidence because it's amazing how much of a difference a trip to the park or local playground can make. Partially, because they can make as much noise or run as wildly as they want to and it doesn't matter.

4. Plan ahead. I always think parenting three children is a bit like watching a duck swimming: on the surface they seem to have it all sussed but underneath they are working away to make things happen. In truth, I'm often less like a duck than I would hope! Still, the key is to make sure you are organised and, once I've checked the weather forecast, I tend to put out clothes, baby carrier and restock the changing bag (nappies, beakers, snacks, bottles, a few small toys/sticker books/colouring and spares) the night before. If I'm heading out in the car, I try to make sure the pram is in the boot too as there's nothing guaranteed to get you stressed like heaving that into the boot first thing in the morning while you've got three children making demands of you.

5. Get organised at home. We have toy buckets of different sizes in almost every room. They're inexpensive ones I get from Home Sense which are open and have handles so I can take them to another room, the garden or put them in the car if we're visiting friends and family. It's a simple concept but an effective one and the only two crucial aspects are organising the toys so that you're happy with them being played with in each room (no ball games or toys with small parts that our youngest mustn't play with in the one in the lounge, for example) and make sure they go back again at the end of the day. Because they're open-topped, ours dip in independently and can help tidy up. Every now and then, particularly when I think they're growing tired of them, I'll rotate them so the toys at the bottom see the light of day.

I could definitely go on, but these are currently the ones that are giving me breathing space and allowing me time to enjoy with my three. If there are any you swear by, pop them in the comments as I'd love to hear them and I'm always looking for new tips.

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