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Well, I guess I didn’t learn my lesson – both of my boys were born in August so I lived through super hot Alabama summers with both pregnancies! Hope most of you are smarter than me!
Leyton and Finn are exactly 3 years apart and both of their birthdays are in August. One of my biggest concerns before I had Finn was how I could love another baby as much as I love Leyton. To this day, Leyton’s milestones tend to hit me harder. I think it’s because he’s the one who made me a mama – my firstborn boy. With Finn, his milestones are hard because I find myself wanting to hold onto his little years and make that baby phase last as long as possible!
Y’all have been asking me questions about how to manage two kids, and I’m just going to dive in and start answering them!
Q: How did you decide on their age gap? How did you know you wanted two?
A: Eric is actually a triplet and I grew up with just one sister, Holly. Having two girls was always very normal to me and I always thought I would want two kids. The Lord has really given us peace about our two boys. If for some reason we were to get pregnant, we would still consider it a blessing, but as far as Eric and I are concerned, we are 99.9% sure we’re done having kids.
Eric and I were fortunate to get married young and the Lord really blessed us with each other. I’m thankful that Eric is a husband who is committed to investing in our marriage and growing together. For the first 7 years of our marriage we really weren’t in a rush to have kids, but instead focused on growing up and learning together – Eric even went back to school and changed careers – and we traveled a lot, purchased our first condo, and did a lot of life together before we decided we were ready for kids. All that to say, we decided on their age gap because we really weren’t in a rush – we wanted to fully enjoy Leyton’s baby days with him before we had a second child.
Even though it’s incredibly overwhelming no matter what age your kids are, I was thankful that Leyton was at an age that he could help me, even if it was just being able to say, “Leyton, go get a diaper for Mommy!” It was interesting to watch Leyton adjust to having a baby brother when he was so used to three years of being the only child!
Q: What do you do when they both need something and are crying?
A: One piece of advice I really appreciated from other moms: you have to realize the baby isn’t going to remember if you don’t go help them first, but your oldest child is. If both are crying and need something, especially in the beginning, I would tend to go to Leyton first, just because I knew he would remember that I chose him, whereas Finn wouldn’t remember. Also, saying something like, “Wait, baby Finn, I’m going to go help Leyton!” is really important. Even though Finn wouldn’t understand, it helped Leyton feel validated. That way when I did need to see to the baby first, Leyton would understand a little better.
Q: Getting your preschooler adjusted to baby sleep schedules/Working nap schedules around preschool?
A: Again, advice from mom friends with two or three kids was so helpful! Read some of the advice I received on preparing for baby #2 and how to manage two kids here!
I tried as much as I could to fit Finn’s schedule around Leyton’s. A while back I wrote this post, sharing a day in our life with a baby and preschooler and all the things. Everyone’s life is different so you just kind of have to find your own groove. The reality is, babies are flexible. Eric and I decided early on we wanted to make sure we fit a baby into OUR lives and schedule vs us completely rearranging our lifestyle for the kids. We always want Leyton and Finn to know Mommy and Daddy’s relationship comes first and then we care about them as a very close second.
I know I can’t give you the perfect answer for exactly what’s going on in your crazy day but I know it’s so important to give yourself grace and do the best you can with the methodology you choose for raising your child!
Q: How do you align their schedules?
A: One thing I do not let go of is nap time, even though Leyton is almost five. I tell Leyton he can’t come out of his room until Mommy says he can. He knows if he can’t go to sleep, that’s okay, he can just play quietly in his room. You set the boundaries and if you are willing to enforce them, your child will comply. Especially now that Finn is a little older, I make sure their nap schedules overlap, even if it’s just for 30 minutes of Finn’s nap, so there is a period of quiet time in the house. A lot of you know that I have done the Connected Families course as well as Moms on Call – both of these are great resources!
A: If Eric is away for any reason, like out for a guys’ night or out of town, I typically put baby Finn to bed first and Leyton reads books with me and helps clean up, then Leyton goes to bed. On normal nights, Eric and I divide and conquer. After we eat dinner together, Eric might do the boys’ baths while I opt to clean up the kitchen. Then we swap-out putting the boys to bed. One night I put Leyton to bed and Eric takes care of Finn, then vice versa the next night. Both boys get to read two books with mommy or daddy then we say a prayer and sing Jesus Loves Me and The Doxology with Leyton before he goes to sleep.
Q: Activities They Like to Do?
A: Leyton loves riding his balance bike and scooter, and baby Finn has already learned how to ride a scooter too! Leyton loves Candy Land right now, too. But mainly they just love to play outside! We go on tons of walks and spend lots of time outside in the yard. We also love love love our sensory activities! You can find all of my favorite ideas here!
Q: Discipline/How Do You Handle Tantrums?
A: Tantrums were hard for Leyton around age two and three, especially three. Again, utilizing Moms on Call and Connected Families helped me so much, as well as asking my friends for advice.
You can read allllll the good stuff I shared from y’all’s advice here, but basically, when Leyton would have a tantrum, it was so important to give him grace and allow him to calm down in a safe space/talk calmly to him to help him process, and then wait to help him with his problem until he was calm, NOT while he was screaming. Toddlers need grace just like adults, so being firm, yet gentle and calm, works wonders.
Q: How Do You Teach Prayers?
A: Leyton learned a simple prayer song at school called “God Our Father”. It has been so great to incorporate that at home! At bedtime, I ask Leyton who he wants to pray for so he is actively involved in praying for those people. We also work on memorizing Bible verses during the day, like when we’re in the car on the way to Burn Bootcamp. We also love to get active and move our bodies when saying Bible verses to aid memory! Read more about how we incorporate our faith at home here.