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Parenting

Advice on Juggling the demands & safety of two (or more) children?

16 replies

zebra · 08/04/2003 15:59

I couldn't find any previous threads about precisely this...

I have an-almost 2 year gap between my two, and fancy having another child next year (approx. 2.25-2.75 yr gap). I love how well the play together most of the time. The difficult thing is juggling demands and needs ESPECIALLY SAFETY. I gave up going to the park because I simply cannot stand beneath the 3-yr-old as he scrambles along the 8-foot-high climbing frame while the 18 month old demands to be pushed in the swing. Or 3yr old screaming to be pushed in swing, while 18 month-old climbs something dodgy 30 feet away and other playground mothers start exclaiming, "She really shouldn't be up here by herself!". Letting them walk or push their trikes alongside busy roads is another stressful aspect to my daily life.

So many parenting books talk about parenting as though siblings never exist. The books advise ignoring tantrums. Easy enough except when 3-yr-old shoves his baby sister to the floor or screams constantly for whatever sunglasses/toy train she picked up he only wants them because she picked them up =-- and shoving/grabbing for said sunglasess/toys. I now buy things in pairs: 2 identical pairs of sunglasses, two identical red squeezy bottles, etc... Saves some squabbling.

I don't know if there are any good books out there on juggling demands and safety. I'm too skint, anyway, to buy a book. So does anybody want to just give me their wisdom & experience on handling two or more? Especially with two (or more) independent-minded little tykes????

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Clarinet60 · 08/04/2003 16:18

I'll be very interested in replies to this, as I'm similarly flummoxed. At present, poor baby gets strapped into his pushchair and just has to watch while I do things with DS1. He's crawling and could toddle on the grass if hands held, but if DS1 (3) got into difficulties and I had to leave him quickly, he could crawl into trouble in an instant as he moves like Speedy Gonzales on speed.

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tallulah · 08/04/2003 17:40

I had DD (5.5), DS (4) & DS (2) when DS3 arrived. You just sort of cope! I always found my biggest struggle was getting the washing out, because if I left them they'd kill each other! I also remember a very dodgy tumble tots session with DD when DS1 woke up & wanted out of his pushchair & decided to scream the place down. I wasn't allowed to leave her & had to rely on a visiting mum to watch him. Bad memories!
I gave up with the park very early. We did a lot of indoor gym things & my DD has always been very outgoing, so I could watch the baby while she did her own thing. Once the others came along I did stuff with the younger ones while the big ones were at playgroup.
My biggest problem was going to the house of friends with kids the age of DD or DS1, who'd gone back to putting coffee on the floor etc.

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Clarinet60 · 08/04/2003 21:13

Yes tallulah, I find this. Some of my friends have gone back to using coffee tables and balancing cups on the edge. It almost feels like educating the childless again, quite bizarre. I find I have to avoid certain houses or my 2 will cause mayhem.

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Demented · 08/04/2003 23:05

Droile, I was guilty of this before DS2 started crawling and pulling himself up. I had put all sorts of not very baby friendly things back on tables, bowls of scented stuff, dried flowers, fresh flowers, breakables only to have to move them out of the way when visitors with babies/toddlers came. Now needless to say they are all up out of the way again!

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Jimjams · 09/04/2003 09:32

I have an almost 4 year old and a 15 month old- and a house full of stairs (our house is on 5 levels- 6 if you count the 2 levels in the kitchen) Can't use stairgates as the 4 year old headbutts them. My best buy? A playpen. When I need to have a shower or just get on with something I can put ds2 in there with all his toys and know he's safe

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lisaj · 09/04/2003 11:53

Jimjams - my two are virtually the same age as your children, and I also use a playpen (well in my case it is a travel cot) to put dd in, when I have to get on and do something. She really likes being in it, either playing with her toys, or standing watching her brother or staring out the window!

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judetheobscure · 09/04/2003 12:05

Out and about I use reins and wrist straps. The park problem I've never really solved. Just worry all the time. Tell them not to go any higher etc, or we'll go home. Don't like having to threaten or nag but they don't seem to notice. (Mine are 7, 5, 3 and 1).

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iota · 09/04/2003 12:41

I only take my kids to the park when dh is available to go with us.
The last time I went alone, ds2 (15 mths) managed to climb up the climbing frame and launch himself backwards off a platform 3 feet high. He fell and banged the back of his head hard - thank goodness for those soft surfaces in playgrounds - and that was the end of our outing.

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sb34 · 09/04/2003 12:59

Message withdrawn

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elliott · 09/04/2003 13:08

this thread is terrifying me - we practically live in the park at the moment and I just can't imagine not being able to go there with two - we'll go completely stir crazy!! Surely ds will be competent enough not to need constant watching by the time d? is mobile. Its not a very big park after all....

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milch · 09/04/2003 13:44

how do you teach toddlers about not going with strangers? i'd feel more at ease if i was sure mine wouldn't. how do i explain why not?

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Jimjams · 09/04/2003 13:52

You've all cheered me up! I thought I couldn't manage the playpark with 2 just because ds1's autistic- in my ignorance I assumed rising 4's were fine and didn't need much watching. So thank you all- that's made my day (seriously).

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tallulah · 09/04/2003 19:50

milch, I don't think you can teach toddlers about strangers. Depends how old the child is & their level of understanding but when they are very small your only option is to watch them all the time (as you do).
When they get older you can try the "some people don't know how to look after little children properly" approach. I think this is the one Kidscape suggests.

I agree with the reins.. mine wouldn't have left the house without them. Also the playpen. We had a big old wooden one that was permanently set up in the living room. (Although they don't stop determined 3 & 4 year olds from climbing in to "play" with the baby while your back is turned.

We also had a slide etc in the garden because we couldn't go out.

This thread is bringing back some rotten memories.. shudder.

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Slinky · 09/04/2003 19:58

We lived in the park before DD1 started school! DD1 was just 4, DS1 was 22 months when DD2 was born. I had the full year with them at home before DD1 started school and if I hadn't had the park to go to - I would have gone "stir crazy!!".

Looking back (they are now 3, 5 and 7) I didn't feel worried about taking them all out - I just got on and did it(the same as my friends did, some of whom have 4 or 5 children).

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jac34 · 09/04/2003 20:57

I have twin boy, and have always made them go on the same things in the park, I just could not watch them properly otherwise. However, this ment I always had one throwing a tantrum because he wanted to do something different.
Life is alot easier now they are 4.5 yo, so I can sit on a bench and scan the area from a distance.
Walking along roads was a nightmare, but I wanted to ditch the tandam pushchair ASAP, as it became very heavy and I have to use public transport.
I figured, the more I made them walk, the more they would learn how to behave on the road.Had a few hair raising moments though !!! Only lost them twice !!!(Damn, someone brought them back).
As DH used to say, "Who the f*ck would want to steal those two, only a mad person, and then they'd bring them back".
Sorry, no advise, just that it does get easier.
As for the buying the same, still have to do this, as they fight like hell otherwise. It really annoys me when people say,"Oh, they have the same toy/T-shirt/sweets etc. wouldn't they prefere a different one" NO, anything for a quiet life !!!

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lisalisa · 10/04/2003 16:27

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