My two Children have almost 5 years of age gap between them. When my daughter was born, she had some complications and needed immediate medical attention. It felt like we spent most of her first year in the hospital. She was a delightful, happy, strong willed, easy going, quiet, and sweet child. My husband and I grew much more patient and thankful with every memories we made with our daughter. Then everything changed soon after we brought our son home from the hospital. Our daughter brought new and unexpected challenges for both of us. It has been rough two years but things are turning for the better… it seems like she has accepted her placement and role in the family.
These are the things we tried…
- I repeatedly said, ” mommy and daddy loves you guys differently, but we love you the same” We wanted her to understand that baby brother does take lots of mommy and daddy’s attention because he is young and needs more time to learn lots of things and catch up.
- Accepted lots of help from extended family and friends. – We noticed that she was sharing her feelings to other family and close friends, we used that to give her an outlet to let her bottled stress out. Also, mommy and daddy needed date nights.
- Big kids get more freedom in taking care of themselves. – We let her pick outfits from the choices we made for her, she helped me plan meal time menu and went grocery shopping together, started a indoor mini garden, daddy had movie dates together, and ect
- Big girls have big kid toys – We had to consider chocking hazards in some of the little toys my daughter had so we had to change play style and organization techniques. I bought bunch of plastic containers and helped her build a system on organizing where thing should go.
- Memory walk with pictures and home movies– I took out journals, photo albums, and home movies and shared stories about how much she was loved when she was a baby.
- Explained big is big and little is little– She is older and big sister so we will expect ” big” developments and actions, no more baby stuff. Little brother is a baby so we will expect “little” things and give him lots of encouragements.
These are the things we tried avoiding…
- Cater to our daughter’s tantrums so she is out of our hair
- Give her guilt gifts
- Constantly yell at her and put her in time out
- Ignore her needs
Now, we still have good days and not so good days but, they know and understand their parents love them. They seem like they have accepted that their role in the family is completely different but that is okay.
Here is an extra help… These are the books my daughter and I enjoyed reading together.