Remember when you thought that having one child was a juggle? Then along comes number two (or three, or four…) and you think ‘OK now I know what busy means’.
Looking after a new baby while you’ve got a toddler or older child, too, can be tricky. Quite often, the idea of a routine or schedule can be thrown out the window.
Jobs still need to be done, and that might include managing the school drop off and pick up time for your son or daughter’s childcare. If you’re like many parents, being on maternity leave doesn’t mean giving up your child’s place in childcare.
Belinda is a mother of two and shares, ‘I had to keep my son in childcare when I was off on maternity leave or I would have lost my spot. He actually loved those days as he got to play with his friends. He would tell me all about his day when he got home. I’d had a chance to rest and bond with my newborn, so I was refreshed and ready to play with him.’
So if you’ve got a newborn at home and need to get older children to childcare, we have some tips and advice from real parents to make the process easier.
‘We walked everywhere because my newborn hated the car’
Christina is a mother of three. She had her oldest at school and her middle child at pre-school when she had her third baby. ‘It was so tricky getting the kids in the car on the pre-school mornings,’ Christina explains.
‘My baby would scream when I put him in the car seat, so I had to change my plans. We ended up leaving home much earlier on those days so that we could walk to the preschool, then school, then head home. The baby would sleep in the pram and I got a good bit of exercise.’
‘I shared the job with a friend’
‘My eldest went to childcare with her best friend,’ shares Adam, a father of two. ‘We live close to each other so we ended up splitting it up so that I took both girls to and from childcare on Monday, and our friends took them on the Tuesday. It saved so much time and meant the baby could just stay at home to sleep.’
‘I was very relaxed about what time I would get to childcare’
Susan is a mother of two boys, now aged 2 and 4. She used childcare for her eldest son when her youngest was born. ‘Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get there at a certain time,’ she suggests.
‘You might think you’ll be out the door at 8am but then if your newborn needs a feed you might not get out the door until 9am. Just understand that you need to give yourself a break. Just think to yourself that you’ll get there when you get there.’
‘My partner changed his hours so that he could help with the drop off’
Susan’s partner was able to adjust his work hours in the first few months with a newborn. ‘Try to see if there’s any way that someone else could do the drop off, so you can keep your newborn at home. Once a week my husband would take my older son or pick him up at the end of the day so that I didn’t have to disrupt the new baby. This was so helpful as he didn’t sleep well and I loved not having to wake him up if I didn’t have to.’
‘I lowered my expectations for myself to reduce stress’
‘Don’t stress if you need to drop off in your pyjamas or you forget something,’ shares Belinda. ‘The carers are fantastic and there is always a spare water bottle or hat around for the kids to use if you need it. You won’t always be super organised, don’t stress and make it hard for yourself. I remember dropping my eldest off to daycare one day and my newborn had just fallen asleep in the car. I called the centre and one of the educators came and sat in the car with my newborn, while I took my eldest inside. They really helped to make it less stressful during those early newborn days.’
‘I would put my newborn to sleep in the capsule’
Rachel was taking her older twins to childcare twice a week when she had her third child. ‘I ended up getting the baby to have her first sleep of the day in the capsule, so that I could just pick her up and put her in the car when it was time to go,’ she shares.
‘I found this better than picking her up from the bassinet to get in the car, as that always woke her up. When we got to the childcare centre, I could easily grab the capsule and head inside. Most of the time she would stay asleep while I dropped my twins off.’
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