7 Ways to Manage a Toddler While Caring for an Infant

Welcoming a new baby into the family is an exciting time for parents, as well as for a new sibling. But, caring for two young children can be demanding and exhausting. For parents (particularly moms), who have two little ones, here are seven tips for managing a toddler while caring for an infant. 


Enroll Your Toddler in a Preschool Program

Siblings on bed

Maa Hoo / Stocksy United

Even if it’s only a part-time program, bringing a new sibling home can be the perfect time to enroll your toddler in preschool. Not only will it give mom or dad one-on-one time with the new baby, but it will also give your toddler something special that is for big kids only.

Make a big deal during pick-up, ask questions about the day, and hang up works of art to show your toddler how special preschool is. 


Set Up a Toddler Area

If you're caring for a toddler and an infant, setting up areas where the toddler can engage in play by themself is very important. You'll want to include child-sized shelves that allow your toddler to choose toys, as well as plenty of toys that encourage independent play.

Think blocks, materials to color with and other art supplies, play food, and simple puzzles. Make sure you also have a toddler-sized table and chair. 


Try to Coordinate Naps

It’s easier said than done, but coordinating nap time so that both your infant and your toddler are asleep at the same time can go a long way toward helping save mom or dad’s sanity during the day. Your toddler’s naps are likely more stable and predictable, so work to get one of your infant’s naps to happen at the same time. It will be trial and error, but making the effort will pay off.  


Tell Your Toddler Stories

If your arms are full with a newborn, picking up a book to read with a toddler may not be realistic. Instead of reading a story, tell one. While you can make up a tale about anything (you can start with whatever your toddler is into at the time—superheroes, trains, princesses, etc.), you also can tell him stories about when he was a baby, just like his new sibling.

Toddlers get a kick about hearing about even the most mundane details of what they did when they were babies. You can also try narrating what you are doing to care for the baby and then compare it to how you cared for the toddler. 


Arm Yourself With Busy Bags

If you have an infant at home, being hands-on with a toddler at all times can be unrealistic. Busy bags are exactly what they sound like—self-contained, simple toys and games that are designed to keep toddlers … well, busy. Check out this busy bag tutorial, which includes several busy bag ideas.


Wear Your Baby

Sometimes a toddler demands hands-on attention, and it's important to be able to manage those moments. If putting the new baby down isn't a great option, try babywearing. With a sling or a wrap, you'll have your baby close to you, but your hands free to parent your toddler.


Accept and Ask for Help

Sometimes admitting you need help is tough, but it’s so important when you are juggling an infant and a toddler. Say “yes” if a friend, parent or family member offers to watch your toddler so you can spend one-on-one time with your baby. Or, have a sitter watch the baby so you can take your toddler out for some special time together. Having opportunities for alone time with both of your children is important.

A Word From Verywell

Being a second-time parent to two very young children can be hard, but the good news is as a seasoned mom or dad, you know that the baby and the toddler stages are fleeting. Do your best to accept and embrace this time knowing that it will be short-lived. 

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