In the past I’ve done daily schedule posts on what I did with my older daughter when she was 15 months old and then 3 years old, but this is the first post I’m doing about what my day looks like with two kids! Honestly I don’t know how people manage with more than two kids. Wrangling my two all day long is more than enough work for me. We are definitely not making any more little humans!
My day starts when my 4.5-year-old bounds into my room to greet my 1.5-year-old (who still co-sleeps with us) who is usually already up and jumping all over me and the bed at that point. We then do the usual morning basics- potty or nappy change, brushing teeth, tying hair, changing clothes, breakfast etc. My 4.5-year-old goes to a daycare kindergarten twice a week. In a few months’ time next year she starts prep which is the foundation year of primary school in Australia (basically the start of full-time formal education) and our days are probably going to look pretty different very soon.
Currently on my 4.5-year-old’s kindergarten days, we will drop her off (we take public transport) and then I will take the toddler to a playground before heading home and getting on with chores etc. These school days are a bit more relaxing as my toddler, being the second child, is pretty independent with her play and enjoys going about doing her own thing. It also means I have a bit of a break when she naps as I don’t have a non-napping older child to look after. As my 4.5-year-old goes to a daycare and not a regular community kindergarten, we are able to pick her up quite late in the day (and at this age she has so much fun with her friends there she doesn’t want to come home early)…but once she starts primary school, I will have to get used to rushing to pick her up much earlier in the afternoon!
On non-school days, we will usually go out in the mornings, before the lunchtime nap/meltdown happens. My 4.5-year-old also goes to gymnastics class once a week which is the only extracurricular activity she is currently doing. Going out is essential for all our sanity. Yes it may be hard getting out of the door with two kids, yes there may be a public meltdown or three when we’re out…but I find the day just passes so much faster when we go out. My husband’s work means he’s not always home in time to help with the bedtime routine so it’s a really long day if I stay home and the kids are in my ear bugging me from the time they wake to the time they go to bed.
My husband is a shift worker so his off days can fall on weekdays. If he’s off and it’s a non-school day for my 4.5-year-old, we usually go out as a family. If he’s working though, I will arrange a playdate so my 4.5-year-old has a friend to run around with. In the past, my 4.5-year-old was okay with going out with just her sister and I but unfortunately now the toddler is at an age where she requires constant wrangling so my 4.5-year-old feels neglected when we’re out and would rather stay at home!
For playdates, we usually meet friends at a park, playcentre, library or to whatever kids’ event or activity that might be on around the city. It’s an effort to arrange regular playdates and outings for sure- I’m no super mum- but it’s worth it. When the kids are out and about, they are both happy and stimulated and get to run around and expend their energy, and that often then carries on to happier, more settled afternoons at home. My 1.5-year-old will usually have a nap in the carrier either when we’re out or on the way home. My 4.5-year-old usually doesn’t nap anymore, but if we’ve had a particularly physically exerting morning, she occasionally will still ask to nap in the pram on the way home. Even at her age she still tends to have a brain meltdown towards lunchtime so I gladly welcome naps even if it pushes bedtime slightly later.
If I am unable to arrange a play date or the weather is terrible, we will stay at home. We usually do lots of arts and crafts, and pretend play at home. These days I try to think about what to do the night before if I know we’re gonna be home all day the next day. Making an effort to brainstorm and scour Google the night before will save me a couple meltdowns and listening to a hundred “I’m bored’s” the next day.
My 1.5-year-old is pretty independent with play and will usually go about doing her own thing. My 4.5-year-old has first child syndrome and is always asking me to play with her or depending on me to set up an activity for her. Generally she enjoys drawing, play dough, slime, or doing pretend play with her dolls or Shopkins. As she is starting primary school next year, I’m also trying to do more reading and writing exercises with her. You can see my previous post 50 Super Easy Indoor Activities For Toddlers for examples of activities we do when we are home.
Both of my kids do watch TV and YouTube, mostly at the end of the day. I am not against screen time. I think it only becomes a bad thing when it’s the only thing they are doing all day and is not part of a balanced lifestyle, or what they’re watching is not age appropriate. TV has been a lifesaver on many days in my household. My 1.5-year-old likes watching educational songs and nursery rhymes, and my 4.5-year-old is currently really into vlogs. I make sure I do monitor what my 4.5-year-old is watching to see whether it is appropriate for her or not. I occasionally watch a video with her or ask her questions about the episodes. I do try to take inspiration and set up an activity based on what she has watched to turn that passive screen time into something active and useful, and also just to engage in her interests.
If Daddy is home, we will sit down and have dinner together but on nights that he’s not around, we all tend to eat at different times and yes, we do have TV dinners. I am not afraid to admit I am human! It becomes a bit about survival when he’s not home. Sometimes I will only eat dinner after putting the kids to bed. My kids don’t bathe together as my 1.5-year-old doesn’t particularly enjoy baths so it can be a bit of a scream fest with her. She will usually have a very quick bath and I will put her to bed first while my 4.5-year-old eats or watches her shows. Once she is down, I will then bathe my 4.5-year-old who has the opposite problem to her sister in that she will happily stay in her bath forever. Once I manage to drag her out, it’s then bedtime for her.
When the kids were younger and our dog was still alive, the nighttime routine used to be a total nightmare when my husband wasn’t around. Our dog was really old and started becoming quite senile last year. He would bark heaps in the evening at us and also at imaginary things…and constantly demand to be taken out to pee, even if he didn’t actually have that much pee. If I didn’t take him out every hour or two, he would show his displeasure by peeing or pooping on the carpet. Combine that with an infant who would wake constantly and be very difficult to put down, and a toddler who used to really fight bedtime…and it was all just one big nightmare! After both kids were finally down for the night, I then still had to try to settle the dog who was the last to go to bed and the first to wake. Sometimes he also woke me up in the middle of the night to pee. He was truly a third child…or rather, like an elderly parent with dementia. We miss him terribly now that he’s gone and it makes me feel guilty to say life is easier without him, but it is. I have to tell myself that admitting that doesn’t negate my love for him. The kids are older and easier to handle now too so life is really different now compared to just half a year ago.
My 1.5-year-old still wakes a few times at night, but obviously nothing like it used to be when she was an infant. Life is about to get even more different in 2018 with my 4.5-year-old starting full-time primary school. It’s soon going to be a blur of morning rushing, lunch packing, school pickups and dropoffs, and strict bedtimes!