Toddlers and preschoolers can be exhausting. But stepping on a Lego piece while chasing after a 3 year-old is a lot more draining when you’re expecting a new baby! Follow our tips for getting through 40 weeks of exhaustion with little ones under foot, and you’ll find these months less stressful and possibly more rewarding.
1. Bring snacks, and not just for your child. It’s important to keep your energy levels up and your blood sugar stable when you’re expecting. So when you’re out and about with your child, remember to pack Cheddar Bunnies for him and a granola bar and a handful of almonds for you!
2. Everything is temporary. When your toddler is throwing a tantrum and you haven’t vacuumed in a week, and you’re too exhausted to deal with either of those situations, it’s easy to forget that this is a temporary situation. In a few months, chasing after your child won’t be such an ordeal, and, while the newborn phase it tough, it too is temporary, and your energy will come back. We promise.
3. Ask for help. Maybe that means asking your mother to come watch your preschooler for a few hours each week. Maybe it means hiring a professional house cleaner. When you start to feel overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to reach out and get the help you need to keep going.
4. Embrace independent playtime. While your child may love the time you spend coloring, playing with dolls or reading on the floor with her, let her know that she can spend some time playing on her own, too. Encourage independent play. Ask your daycare for tips, as they likely offer a wide variety of play scenarios.
5. Talk to your kids. Your children may wonder why you’re not exactly bursting with energy, or why your patience may be running short. Explain to them that because you’re growing a baby, your body is doing lots of work to give the baby what he needs, and you’re feeling tired as a result.
6. What can you do from the sofa? Reading books is always a favorite activity, but you can also play simple card games, or snuggle up under a blanket for a favorite movie.
7. Prioritize! Do you really need to make beautifully prepared lunches for the kids this week? Or will they be excited to open their lunch to find strawberries, cheddar cheese, veggies and hummus, and sunbutter on toast. Easy to prepare, and just as delicious and healthy as that bunny-shaped toddler casserole you saw on Pinterest.
8. Potty train. If your child is already potty-trained, congratulations! But if your little one is showing signs of readiness, now may be the time to potty train her. Giving her some independence is great for her self-esteem, and will be helpful to her when her younger sibling arrives. Not having to care for two kids with dirty diapers at once is priceless!
9. Nap when they nap. This is age old advice given to parents of newborns, but when you’re pregnant and parenting a toddler or preschooler who still takes an afternoon nap, go right ahead and nap along with him! Get your rest any way you can.
10. Feeling good? Seize the moment. If you have a sudden burst of energy one afternoon and realize that none of the baby clothes are sorted and laundered, or there is some serious dog hair in need of vacuuming, make it happen. In a few hours, your energetic mood may have passed.
How many of you have parented while pregnant? Do you have any tips to share? Let us know in the comments!