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Duty calls: How to reconfigure your parenting duties when baby #2, 3, or 4 arrives

Many parents believe that if they have it covered raising one child, the next ones will be just a breeze. There are many factors to having a second child, and the first one is the amount of years in between each sibling. Having a self-sufficient child (after the age of 3, toilet trained, dresses self) is easier on the parents to have another baby. But for those parents who have children closer together in age, it can be challenging. This is when the tag team of the parent unit needs to keep it together and help each other out.

Yes, there are many aspects of parenting that you have already learned (like not putting the diaper on backwards), but there is less time to get things done now that there are two kids in the picture. You need full cooperation of your significant other to help with the other child (or children) and also for them to have time to spend with the newborn. Communication between the parental unit is crucial to making the transition from one child to many as smooth as possible. Remember that taking care of newborns is demanding, but it gets easier as they get older. The working parent may feel more pressure to work longer hours to care for a larger family. It is important to have a conversation that although their motivation to earn more is appreciated, you need the help at home, if it is financially possible for your family.

If you have older children, enlist in their help! Children love the feeling of responsibility and to “play” with their new sibling. Teach them with patience what should be done and only offer them age appropriate duties.

Some things to consider as the family expands:

  1. While you tend to your newborn, can your significant other take care of the older children?
  2. Can your significant other help with bathing, diapering, and burping the newborn so that you can rest and/or spend quality time with your older children?
  3. Who will cook, clean, do the laundry, and tend to the household chores?
  4. Who will take the kids to school?
  5. Who will prepare the meals?
  6. Who will take the kids to their doctor’s appointments?
  7. Will one parent take over so that the other parent can get some alone time?
  8. Will you hire help (household chores, daycare, a nanny)?

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About Dr. Eva Benmeleh, Bundoo Child Psychologist

Dr. Eva Benmeleh Roditi is a licensed clinical psychologist with a specialization in the 0-5 age range. She is also a certified lactation educator and helps mothers with breastfeeding issues in pediatric practices. She currently works in private practice in North Miami Beach, Florida.

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