Three kids under 4
For those of you who are considering having three children, it’s awesome. You should do it. When we had our third child, our oldest was 3 and our middle child was 2. It was hectic at first! But it didn’t take long to get into the swing of things. For those of you who will have three kids under 4, here are some tips/suggestions/warnings that we have found in our journey over the past year…
- You don’t need to worry about creating a box of activities for the children to do while you’re breastfeeding/feeding the baby as the older siblings will have each other to annoy/play with.
- You won’t be able to go anywhere without people saying “You’ve got your hands full!” or “Well done Mumma!” Usually, more often than not actually, people will be kind and helpful. They’ll open doors for you, take the trolley back to the trolley bay at the supermarket, and let you go first in the queue when they can see that you are literally a ticking time bomb of meltdowns.
- Because your children are so close in age, they will form a special friendship. They will also learn to become independent at a young age, as you will need them to be able to get themselves dressed, shoes on, bag packed while you tend to the baby.
- A tip is to do one load of laundry per day. At least!
- You will get all the “nappy years” done with fairly quickly. As exhausting and endless as this may be at the time, at least it’s done and dusted. Try to get your middle child out of nappies/pull ups/over night nappies before the baby comes so you have less costs at the supermarket. Or go environmentally friendly and get cloth nappies.
- You won’t have to store endless baby gear (prams, boxes of clothes, bottles, sterilisers, cots, bassinets…) for decades.
- You will become an expert on playgrounds- the ones with toilets, fences, shade, and a bench where you can feed the baby.
- Putting on/taking off seatbelts. Do you think you are mentally prepared to battle three kids seatbelts every day, multiple times? Hint: Take the pram/scooters/bikes WHEREVER possible to avoid the car!
- Most people, including your closest friends, will forget you have three children when you are invited places. They will often look a bit surprised when you unload all three, and be confused by how long it takes you to load the car.
- Find ways to make packing up and storing the kids toys easy. IKEA has some great storage ideas. We use cube shelving and boxes that are easy for the kids to put things back into. One box for playdough, one for puzzles, one for dress ups, one for toy cars etc.
- When one child is invited to a party it means you will probably need to check if all three of your children are invited, or arrange a baby sitter.
- Your youngest child will learn to sleep anywhere, and relish the sleep he/she gets! Routines are stuck to on the odd days there aren’t other things on for the older children. Having said that, we stick to a regular wake up time and night routine and time. We also try to have some “down time” in the middle of the day whenever possible.
- When you’re at the playground and one child needs to go to the toilet then ALL of you will need to go. The amount of times I’ve screamed, “Do NOT touch anything!” while hovering a child above a public toilet…. *sigh*.
- There will always be one child who is waking up at night, or one child who is a bit under the weather. Your job is to MAKE SURE THIS DOESN’T SPREAD to the rest of the family!
- Car seats. Is your car wide enough for 3 car seats? Many aren’t!
- Buy a baby carrier. I have an Ergo 360, which is the BEST. You can get products really affordably on Gumtree if you don’t want to buy new, or are environmentally conscious (reuse!). It’s important you have two hands free when out and about and navigating car parks or busy areas.
- If you have a difficult delivery, or a c-section, will you have assistance with the older two children so you don’t have to bend/lift etc?
- Allocate the older two children “jobs” to do so they feel involved and don’t get jealous of the new bubs. For example, getting the baby’s nappy, or getting the baby’s pjs/bib/wipes.
- It’s also nice to have one-on-one time with your children now and then too. For example: going to a fun concert, spending time riding bikes together, having a milkshake, baking together or even just going to do the grocery shopping together without the other two children. It can remind you how easy it is having one child and you will wonder why you didn’t think so at the time! It’s also a nice chance to talk to your child without other interruptions.
- Get a good pram. You’ll want to get out and about each morning to ensure the troops don’t (a) destroy the house (b) argue all morning! You can also get skateboards to go on the back of prams, which make life easier when there’s a meltdown.
- Snacks. Always pack snacks. And try to have a few smarties in your purse for PUBLIC EMERGENCIES. I’m sure you know what I mean!
- Your children will have to learn to share and resolve conflicts as you are not always going to be available at every second, due to the baby’s needs. This is actually good! They will quickly learn the art of negotiation, persuasion & compromise!
- Lastly, if you haven’t already, buy a Dyson Stick Vacuum cleaner!
Having three children close together might seem like a lot of work, but we’re really enjoying it and hope you do too!