A major premise of Babywise is that baby joins a family. This means that life does not revolve around a baby. It also means that the baby is not fully sacrificed for the needs of the rest of the family.
It means that you make an effort to find ways to meet the needs of the full family as a whole. Nothing revolves around just one member. Everyone needs to make sacrifices.
This sounds nice on paper, but it can be hard to put into practice in reality. We easily find ourselves catering to one individual.
So how can you successfully do Babywise with a baby and still allow older children to participate in activities? Here are 8 ideas to get you through.
Carpool, carpool, carpool. That is my number one go-to for managing activities. This was handy when I had a baby at home, and it is still handy today even without a baby at home. If you can, have your child participate in activities with friends who can carpool. Invite a friend to sign up for dance with your child! Most moms love the carpool idea. The carpool is a great tool to master now because it will also save you when your children are older. If you have more than one child doing things and one parent able to get them to things, it can get difficult quickly. Last spring, we had three children playing a soccer game and one child presenting a project for school all at the same time and in different cities. Carpooling is your friend.
If you are running a child to an activity and it is baby’s naptime, find a babysitter! You might have a neighbor willing to come sit at your house while you drive there and back. This allows your baby to still take a regular nap in his/her crib without being disrupted. You can also ask family to help out if you have family living close by. You might be able to lay baby down for a nap at your mom’s house while you run about. Grandma might be willing to drive to dance while baby’s naps interfere. Think through the help you are able to get and utilize it.
When I was pregnant with my fourth child, I was very proactive in getting activities scheduled ahead of time so I could make things work. When my second and third children were born, my older children were still young enough that I was okay with cutting back and cutting out as needed. When my fourth was born, the children were older and more involved. There were things we didn’t want to cut. I talked with our piano teacher early on to get the times I could make work best with a baby. I talked with the owner of the dance studio my girls went to find out when classes would be and she got them scheduled so I could work around them. I really wanted the kids’ activities to be workable for one parent so the other parent could stay home with the baby if needed. That took planning ahead so I could get my top choice of times, rather than what was left.
4-Ask For Exceptions
One year, I wanted my daughter to be able to carpool with neighbors for dance class. A couple of us asked if we could have our daughters dance in a class a year older than they were so that the girls in the neighborhood could all go to the same class time slot. They said yes! You never know unless you ask.
5-Remember Sacrifice for All
You will not succeed with Babywise with your baby if your baby is never home for naps. Yes, a younger sibling often has to be more flexible and will miss naps at home, but the sacrifice needs to go both ways. Your older child might give up an activity for baby sister’s first year of life. Your older child might not get out of the house every single day for a few months. It is okay for siblings to make sacrifices for each other.
6-Adjust Baby’s Schedule
While you have to work with a baby’s natural disposition, as a Babywise mom, you know how to adjust your schedule to work for you. That means if you really need your baby’s schedule to shift by 30 minutes so you can pick up older sister from piano without disrupting a nap, you can work to do that.
7-Choose Activities Close to Home
Your preferred dance studio might be 20 miles away while there is an acceptable studio 8 miles away. While you have a young baby, go for acceptable and closer.
An extra 20 minutes of driving in the car can absolutely be a breaking point for your baby getting a good nap. If there are places close to home that will work this year, use those ones.
8-Remember, the Baby is a Baby For a Short Time
This sacrifice doesn’t last forever. Baby is not baby for very long. You will be able to be more and more flexible as time goes on. With some planning ahead, sacrifice, and flexibility, you can successfully have a Babywise baby and still have your older children involved in activities.
Valerie is a mother to four children and blogs at www.Babywisemom.com.