There’s no doubt that the early years are tough, especially with your first as you really don’t know what you’re doing. The second is easier but still a challenge, but at least you have a bit of a toolkit of what works to draw upon. Of course every child is different so what worked for the first may not work for the second, but you need a starting point.
Here’s our list of the 5 most useful things that worked for our boys, starting from birth and going up to the age of 3.
1. White Noise
If you haven’t heard of white noise, it’s constant background noise like a fan or vacuum. Those noises aren’t what we’d normally consider as pleasant, but can be very soothing to an infant as well as the sound of waves or a heartbeat. Playing white noise softly near your sleeping newborn helps to keep them settled and masks other background noises that might wake them. Worked wonders for our boys. You can find MP3s available for download and then play them on a loop.
Many people fall into 1 of 2 camps – pacifier or not. For us the pacifier has worked and unlike a sucked thumb, can be taken away and provided only when needed. If the pacifier is used for sleeping and when upset and not when playing it makes weaning them off a lot easier. For settling an upset baby a pacifier can be nothing short of miraculous!
3. Baby Swing
Our first would settle fairly easily for nap time but our second always wanted to know what was going on and was a real struggle. Enter the baby swing. If you haven’t been exposed to these you need to google them. We bought one of the high end Fisher Price swings and it made nap-time settling of our youngest a hands off affair so we could be cleaning up or making lunches.
OK, don’t judge us! Seriously, from the age of 2 onwards children are very switched on and curious. Providing an iPad gives them the chance to discover how to use it independently and also be in control of the games they want to play. We only download education games like counting, or problem solving games like puzzles. As they get older the complexity of the games can be increased and move onto spelling and math puzzles. The iPads also keep them very quiet 🙂
5. Hotwheels Cars
Boys love cars, girls too to some extent. My niece likes to play with the Hotwheels cars too but it’s more along the line of “this is the Daddy car, this is the Mummy car…”. We have a pattern in our carpet and my boys will happily drive the cars along the pattern as though it’s a road for at least an hour. Which is a long time for young boys! Our youngest is really only getting the hang of it now at the age of 3 but they’re definitely off the menu under 2.
Every child and family is different so I’d love to hear what has worked for you!