This month we will celebrate 3 years since the “Littles” came to live with us. I got lots of help and advice before they arrived. Here’s my top ten of things that made those first days easier:
1 – Have their rooms ready, beds made
2 – Ask sizes and have at least a few outfits at the ready; don’t buy a lot as they may come with things, their sizes may be wrong, or the styles you choose may not work for that child. Even if you normally buy “new,” consider thrift shops until you become better acquainted.
3 – Plan several main meals, and if time allows, prepare and freeze several
4 – Clear your calendar of all non-essential activities for 3 weeks, keeping in mind #5
5 – Plan to keep life as normal as possible for any other kids you have; in our case Dear Hubby helped keep the older girls on schedule
6 – Remember that this is a big shock to you, too! Be easy on yourself, get lots of sleep and exercise. Eat healthily.
7 – Plan some low-key family fun every few days; babies love a ride in a stroller. Young children love a park, no matter the weather. Older kids like movies, bowling, etc. Avoid noisy, crowded and over stimulating environments like arcades or amusement parks.
8 – Forget cleaning your whole house before they arrive. If clutter is an issue, buy some big tubs, box it up and stick it in the attic. If you can afford it, hire someone else to do a one-time cleaning so you can do more meaningful things.
9 – Carve out some time for your spouse/partner (if you have one) and for any other kids you have before the newcomers arrive. This way they will better weather a few weeks of lowered attention.
10 – Ask for help! You have more friends than you realize and they love you more than you know. One couple came and helped me set up cribs and my kids’ room. Another friend bought clothes and books. Several friends made meals, making our first days so much less stressful.
Remember, this child(ren) really just needs your love, everything else is superfluous. Don’t worry about their hairstyles, their picky eating, their night terrors or your messy house. Focus on loving them and caring for yourself; everything else is gravy!