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100 Tips for Nannies and Families

The advice in this book comes from Candi Wingate, President of Nannies4hire.com.
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How Parents Juggle It All With Multiples

Parents with multiples (twins, triplets, etc.) have their hands full.  Below are some steps many parents of multiples take to keep ahead of things.

  • Fathers may become more involved in child rearing (relative to fathers of single births).
  • When accepting volunteer help from friends or family members, consider if the volunteers are healthy and physically able to help. Also consider if they are exposed to contagions through their friends, family, or work environment. Never allow smoking around your children. Once the best candidates are chosen, delegate routine tasks to them: cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, basic childcare, etc.
  • Consider hiring a full-time nanny. You can hire based on the recommendation of a friend or family member, you can use a nanny agency, or you can tap into a web-based nanny resource such as Nannies4hire.com.
  • Go back to basics. When you first bring your new babies home from the hospital, and for quite a while thereafter, you will have your hands full juggling the necessary day-to-day tasks. Do not try to take on additional tasks. This is not the time to paint the living room, finish crocheting an afghan, or re-seed your lawn. It will take all your energy to master the basics at hand.
  • Get plenty of rest. This is especially important when your multiples are babies and are requiring round-the-clock care. It may be easy to let sleep deprivation and normal post-partum emotions get the best of you. You may wish to designate time frames in which your husband or volunteers are the first-responders for middle-of-the-night cries.
  • Take occasional breaks. Your life has become a flurry of responsibilities. You may miss the comparative peace of the life you had before . . . so, periodically, take time away from the children to go on a date with your spouse, spend an afternoon at the art gallery, or do something else that you enjoy without the children.
  • Create an infant chart. You can use the chart to track which infant consumed how much and when, which infant threw up and when, who had diapers changed when, etc. This information will prove invaluable not only for ongoing care and feeding of the babies but also for your periodic appointments with their pediatrician.
  • Breastfeeding is good for the health of your babies, fosters a stronger mother-child connection, and is cost-effective as well (formula is so expensive!). Premature babies may have some difficulty with breast feeding at first, but perseverance pays off. You should do your best to get each baby to nurse successfully before each is discharged from the hospital: you will have the greatest resources within your access while you are still at the hospital, so it’s best to tap those resources while you can. Double nursing (nursing two babies simultaneously) is a great time saver: it may take some time to master this skill, but again, perseverance pays off. You may supplement direct breast feeding by using breast pumps. Pumping every 3 hours is ideal to build up your supply. By having a reserve supply of breast milk available, your husband and your volunteers can help feed the babies. (Make sure that each baby is directly breast-fed – not just pumped breast milk – at least every day or two.)
  • When your multiples are old enough to eat “grown-up food”, it is best to plan family meals by the week. By planning what meals you will have each day for the next week, you can plan what groceries you will need for the entire week (thus preventing multiple trips to the grocery store each week), you will save time trying to decide what to prepare each day, and meal time on a daily basis will generally go much more quickly and smoothly.
  • Be especially careful when baby-proofing your home. You may not be able to supervise three crawling babies as closely as you would be able to supervise one single-birth crawling baby . . . so it is especially important that every potential household hazard be identified and removed or mitigated as best as possible.
  • Purchase or have donated to you a vehicle that accommodates the number of car seats that you need. If possible, leave the car seats in the vehicle at all times. Putting the car seats in, taking them out, and putting them back in again can be very time consuming. Also, it is ideal if your vehicle has a rear DVD player accessible . . . this will keep your toddlers multiples from going stir crazy on longer car rides.
  • Purchase or have donated to you a few spare car seats that can be used when your children are transported in other people’s vehicles. This prevents you from having to shuffle car seats between vehicles unnecessarily.
  • Purchase or have donated to you a stroller that is intended for the number of multiples you have (if possible). Twin and triplet strollers are readily available.
  • Use cloth diapers and a diaper service.
  • Delegate household chores to children, when age appropriate. Typically, children can start with simple chores as early as two years of age. As each child’s age and maturity increases, their household responsibilities should increase in a commensurate manner. Keeping track of what chores are to be done, by what time, and by whom can be tracked on a chore calendar. Make sure to provide feedback to children regarding their performance of their chores: praise for a job well done, redirect/re-train for a job not done well, discipline for a job intentionally not done well or not done at all.
  • Dedicate one day per week or month for each child. On that child’s day, he or she is king or queen of that day. He/she gets to choose games to play during the afternoon. He/she gets to choose what to have for dinner (within reason) that evening. He/she may even have a special “date” night with one or both parents. By giving each child their own day to reign, you are able to forge a unique relationship with each of your multiples.
  • Be frugal: clip coupons, buy items on sale, purchase clothing at consignment shops or gratefully receive donated or hand-me-down clothing, and request multiple-purchase discounts whenever and wherever you buy.
  • Have a birthday party that is shared by the multiples. Birthday parties can be expensive. Since your multiples obviously share the same birthday, a shared birthday party is a time and cost saver. You can recognize the unique nature of each of your children at the party, however: if Johnny likes one particular cartoon while Janie likes a particular dolly, two separate themes at the one birthday party is appropriate.
  • Do your best to keep control of media involvement/intrusion. Some media coverage is unavoidable, and you may (at least initially) be flattered by the attention paid to your little ones. But media involvement easily becomes media intrusion. Be careful.
  • Keep things in perspective. There will be good days and harried or downright bad days. But each day will pass and a new one will begin. Try to take each day in stride. These days with your little ones are precious. They may not always seem precious while they are happening, but they are precious indeed.

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