Taming the Challenges of Parenting Two Young Kids
Raising kids is a fulfilling task, but it’s not an easy one. The challenges that come with this become even more complicated when they’re at the toddler stage.
Dads are taking a larger role in an effort to create a happier and well-rounded upbringing. A study published on The Lancet even shows a major rise in single dad households, representing 2.6 million families in the USA. And while that shows an admirable dedication to fatherhood, it does come with its challenges.
Thankfully, there’s always a solution for the biggest challenges in raising two young kids — or more.
Have Productive Conversations
Many dads want to be the fun parent, while others go for the much stricter approach. Managing the balance between those two sides can be tricky when you’ve got a wild toddler constantly butting heads with another sibling. There’s mess, noise, and a ton of energy to boot.
The first obvious point is to lead by example. Most kids who have attitude problems actually develop this either from copying their parents or as a response to their environment. If you can make a conducive and loving home, it’s easier to appeal to your children. Sitting your kids down and explaining to them why their actions are wrong can go a long way.
Kids have a natural propensity for temper tantrums to express their frustration, but they can be very perceptive. Speak clearly and calmly, and break down the reasons for whenever you have to say no or tell them off. You should also ensure that they are not lacking sleep or being agitated by other factors so that they can understand your stance better.
Do Engaging Activities Together
As much fun as you may have hanging out with your kids, it’s natural to feel exhausted. It’s especially draining if you have to come up with a constant stream of entertainment for the tiny people with seemingly endless battery packs inside them. As tempting as it is to just plop them in front of the TV and call it a day, this could form unhealthy habits that don’t help their motor skills and brain development. Devonte Bennett Bey’s guide to engaged parenting for stay-at-home dads, as reported by co-founder and editor of The Dad Website, Daniel Lewis, is a great example of being able to bond with your kids.
One way to keep them engaged is to get them out of the house. That said, going out with two kids in tow may seem like an impossible task when you only have one set of hands and eyes. Toddlers do like to wander around. To avoid that problem, and reduce your stress as a parent, you may need to use a double stroller when going out of the house. The range of tandem strollers on iCandy highlight that these models are conveniently designed to transport twins, or a baby and a toddler. The older child can sit in front in a forward-facing manner, while the little one can stay cocooned in the back. This way, everyone is secure.
You can also pick outdoor activities that you yourself are interested in. If you’re going to stay engaged, then it helps to do stuff that you already find fun, so you can really share this with your kids. Keep in mind that you still need to care for yourself, too. Take breaks for some “me-time” so you don’t feel burned out. If you’re worn out, you have a bigger likelihood of either snapping at your children or being less present with them.
Give Them a Safe Space
These early years are usually filled with questions and exploration. It’s just how toddlers learn. This is a good thing, so it’s not something to stifle.
But it’s natural to be concerned about their safety. Rather than quelling their curiosity, just aim to provide them with a safe space to explore and broaden their horizons. One example is to make sure you keep child locks in place at home and don’t store dangerous items within their reach.
On top of that, explain why these precautions are in place so they understand the dangers themselves. Regardless, Rutgers Social-Emotional Learning Lab director Maurice Elias explains to parents that it’s normal if their way of playing doesn’t make sense. They’re still at that stage of wonder and exploration, which is a wonderful thing to watch unfold. It’s best to let young kids find their own exploration style while providing a secure and familiar environment around them.
As for the questions, there’s no shame if you don’t have all the answers. Even if you have to do your research, learning together is better than just being unproductive.
With some effort and a good amount of self-care, getting through the rowdiest years is totally doable.