What is Easier – The Transition to Two or Three Children?
This is a question I’ve seen come on a few parenting Facebook groups and I have to confess to googling this a few times when I was pregnant with Bodhi. What is harder the transition from one to two children or two to three? How hard is it to have three children? I remember thinking life is busy enough already with two, am I going to cope?
For me, the big thing I think that makes a massive difference is the age of the children. When my second child Aria was born, Logan was only 2.5 years old. I had two in nappies for a little while and a toddler who still needed a lot of my attention and help. My daughter had cow’s milk protein allergy and it felt like she cried constantly, I didn’t understand what was wrong with her and was worried I was neglecting her older brother.
Flash forward to Bo’s birth and my two children were much older. With Aria turning 4 two weeks before he was born and Logan being 6.5 years old. Logan was at school, Aria at pre-school and just 3 months shy of starting reception. They were able to clean, dress and go to the toilet themselves, they could understand the changes, get excited about the arrival of their new brother, they were and still are keen to help out with him. If I put him the cot to have a shower and he starts crying, I will often get out to find one of them has calmed him by coming in and singing to him or fetching him a new toy. It’s just so much easier and I really think this is down to the age difference. If I had 3 children under 4 years old for instance I think this would be a very different story.
Although, a downside of them being older is having to be up and out of the house by 8.30am in time for the school run, which with a newborn who can sometimes take 45 minutes to breastfeed is no mean feat.
I do worry with the bigger age gap that as Bo gets older his siblings will feel less inclined to play with him. When Logan is 14 and Bo is the age he is now the age gap will seem quite vast, then, I suspect. But I hope that they can still connect and Logan will very much still want to look after his little brother and they won’t leave him out. Time will tell there I guess.
Things To Consider
I’m not going to say harder, but things that are a consideration when having three children.
- You will have more washing – you have an extra child, it’s impossible not to
- You are more likely to have a sick child at home and then it gets passed around the whole family – an extra child to catch the germs and pass them on
- You are more likely to have to get up in the night – one more child to have a bad dream, wet the bed, teething, loosing their covers in the night etc
- It will cost you more money – more food and more children to clothe. Yes hand me downs are a great, but I have found that some things just don’t last. Especially as children get older and wear them for longer they tend to wear them out, rip the knees, stain them so there are less things to pass on as they get older
- Cars have to be a consideration, very few have the space to fit three car seat across the back for instance. And as most children are meant to be in a booster until they are around 12 years old now, it’s likely you are going to need a car that can fit this. We found a solution with the multimac car seat – but it was costly
- As above holidays, the cost has to be a consideration. We in general prefer to rent homes and go self-catering. A lot of holidays homes are two bedroom, or sleep four. It’s fine when the youngest is small and can sleep in your room in a travel cot, but as they get old inevitably you will need to pay for a bigger place to stay
- You will need to consider the logistics of sleeping arrangements – most family homes are 2 or 3 bedroom. We are lucky enough to have a 4 bedroom, but the 4th bedroom is very small and requires some creative storage solutions. But if your house is smaller you need to consider gender, temperament and age group differences to work out who will be best to share.
- After school clubs and activities – this can be a tricky one. I was able to hibernate a bit with a toddler and a baby. Not so this time, not only as I mentioned above are there school runs to consider, but swimming lessons, after schools clubs that your youngest has to be taken along, nap time be damned and it can be a bit of a juggle
- Life will be easier if you’re organised. There’s a lot to remember, especially if you want to get out on time, well, anywhere. From dressing up days at school, to snacks, changes of clothes and just knowing where everyone’s shoes are. I find having a system in place makes my life easier
- Smaller toys worry you. For my oldest son, Lego is life. But just one small part in a baby’s mouth could mean a trip to the hospital. We’ve put rules in place – on his room and on the dining room table only, but he is only 7 and he does forget. The same goes for my daughter with some of the parts for her Barbies, dolls and Lego too. Pencil sharpeners, pen lids, stickers that all seem to end up everywhere I feel like I am forever on the hunt for them
- Your house will be messier, my children, more toys, more things to do, my little ones to keep your eye on. This is one I’m still trying to come to terms with!
- Family tickets – a lot of attractions class a family ticket as two adults and children, which is quite frustrating
But, the one thing I would say, Bo has completed our family in a way I could not have imagined. I knew when I was pregnant I would love him, how could I not, but the love all of us share for him, is such a lovely thing.
In conclusion, I would say that personally I found the transition to three children easier. Yes, there is more work to go around but Bo just seemed to slot into our lives. Routines did and still need to be adapted. But I think a combination of being more confident myself and the children being older made it easier than going from one to two children.