Every mom with little ones wants to know how to make life easier when you have kids close in age.
Motherhood is hectic. It is go, go, go 24/7 and a constant battle of balancing it all while not getting burnt out.
My first two children are 18-months apart and I now have three children all under the age of five.
Everyone is busy and our days are full of both joy and chaos!
Through the years of navigating this motherhood gig, I’ve picked up a few tips along the way that really have helped to simplify things and just make the days that much easier.
If you are expecting to have children close in age, or are in the thick of it right now, these tips are for you.
Today’s guest post is by Christine Keys.
Post contains affiliate links.
#1 Set Up a Central Diaper Station
Have you seen that quote about how toddlers can do more in 30 seconds than we can in an entire day?
Yeah, well that’s one of the reasons that I highly recommend having a central diaper station.
Set one up in your living room or an area that you typically spend a lot of time with your toddler so that you’re not having to leave them unattended too often.
We have a drawer in our TV console that we store diapers and wipes in. It works perfectly so that I can change the baby right where the other two children already are.
#2 Use Baby Gates
I only used this hack when I had my first two kids and that is because my eldest was still young enough that he hadn’t fully learned to stay put when I told him to.
Instead of stressing myself out wondering what he was up to, we put up a couple of baby gates in our living room so that I could feed his baby sister and not worry about him getting into mischief.
They’re fairly affordable to get your hands on and you could even just look for some used ones if you’re after a bargain.
#3 Make Use of Caddy’s
You could lose your mind running from one end of the house to the other to get everything you need all day long.
This is the time to invest in a couple of caddy’s to store things in that you’ll be using all the time.
If you’re breastfeeding, stock a caddy up with all the supplies that you use. Granted, you may not need it long term, but for the early days it will be incredibly helpful.
You could include:
- Breast pads
- Burp cloths
- Nipple shields
- Nipple cream
Another clever way to use a caddy is to fill one up with toys and activities to entertain your toddler.
#4 Teach Your Toddler to Play Independently
While we’re on the topic of toddler activities, if you haven’t already implemented independent playtime with your toddler, I HIGHLY recommend you do so.
This post will help you to get started.
There are so many benefits including:
- Longer attention span
- Increased imaginative play
- Low stimulation (mental rest)
- Lessened separation anxiety
As a mom, it also means that you’re able to have a certain amount of time during the day where your toddler is happy to entertain themselves and you can get stuff done.
#5 Stop Folding Play Clothes
Do you loathe laundry? I personally don’t, but with babies and toddlers there is just a never-ending pile.
For that reason, it is important to keep things as simple as possible.
I never thought I could do it, but after the birth of my 3rd child I stopped folding my older children’s play clothes.
There are three benefits to doing this:
- It saves you time
- You can stop stressing about them unfolding everything in their drawers
- It promotes independence (you can send them to pick out their own clothes)
Since I stopped folding, the laundry process has gone a lot faster.
#6 Have a Simple Cleaning Schedule
If you’re anything like most moms out there, you have probably set very (maybe unrealistically) high expectations upon yourself.
I know that it is difficult to function in a messy house so there has to be a balance.
You cannot keep up with all of the housework the way you did before you had kids and you shouldn’t expect that of yourself.
However, if you’re after a balance (for your sanity’s sake!) then I suggest setting up a simple cleaning schedule.
You can read all about the one I use in this post.
#7 Meal Plan
Meal planning is a game changer for sure.
I show you how to do it a month at a time (in less than 15 minutes!) in this post. And trust me when I say it’ll make your life so much easier.
I honestly feel as though every household should meal plan to some extent because it is just so freeing not having to constantly think about what you’re going to have for dinner.
#8 Shop Online
Are shopping trips an all day event for you?
My kids are generally well behaved when we go out but it is the task of getting them in and out the car/stroller/cart/etc that takes so much extra time.
After the birth of my 3rd baby I decided to just do my grocery shopping online.
And guess what? It doesn’t cost any more than what we used to pay because I’m not tempted by the sale sign at the end of the aisle.
#9 Get Helpful Baby Gear
Baby stuff is expensive but that doesn’t mean that you have to buy ALL of it. In fact, there are very few baby items that are truly necessary.
However, there are a few things that make life with little ones close in age a lot easier.
- Bouncer – This is handy for when you need to put the baby safe while you attend to your other child/ren. We used one for all three children and loved having it. You can get them for a very affordable price. My suggestion is just to stick with the basics (avoid all the bells and whistles).
- Jolly Jumper – This clever baby item is wonderful for keeping your little one contained while also allowing them the opportunity to exercise and practice their jumping skills.
- Baby Monitor – Honestly, I use my baby monitor far more now than I ever did when I just had one baby. These things are GOLD for keeping an eye on toddlers when you’re busy with the baby. I would be lost without mine.
#10 Schedule Your Day
My final piece of advice is to schedule your day. Life with little ones is demanding. Someone always wants something.
It will do all of you a whole lot of good if you can schedule your day so that you get some kind of time to yourself.
For me, that has always been when my children nap. It is one of the first things that I work towards achieving when we have a new baby.
Even if you can just get naps to sync up for an hour it’ll give you a chance to breathe and collect yourself so that you can face the rest of the day without feeling as though you’re going to dissolve or explode.
Having children close in age is not a walk in the park, but it certainly isn’t miserable either! Be smart and think about how you can simplify things in order to enjoy the stage of motherhood that you’re in.
Christine lives in New Zealand with her husband and 3 young children. She has a Bachelor of Nursing but now works from home on her two blogs Christine Keys and Raising Kids Making Money.
On both of her blogs, you’ll find that she loves to share tips with moms to help simplify life so that motherhood is more enjoyable than it is overwhelming.
When she isn’t blogging and running after little kids (which is basically always), she loves to just relax and spend time with family.
Christine Keys firstname.lastname@example.org