The introduction of a new sibling can spark issues of resentment and jealousy in the older child. The time and attention which once belonged solely to them is now being spread out. I think this is true of not only first-born children but that of subsequent siblings. I think it is important to get the balance right of ensuring that they still feel special but without spoiling them, or leaving you run ragged.
When our children were born each of the older boys had new toys as a present from their new brother. As parents we hoped that the gifts would be the start of cementing that sibling bond. We did not have a set cost for the toys, but just what we felt they would really like. This ranged from hand-held games systems, to a toy tractor. In fact our third son came at 38 weeks, after we had been looking at toys online letting the older boys select what they wanted themselves.
Toys for boys do not need to be gender stereotypical and I think the age of the sibling can greatly play a part. If they are old enough to interact with the new baby then you may want to encourage them to help. A doll is a great way to help show what a real baby is like. Teaching the older sibling how to support the baby’s head rather than drag them around by the arm!
As they grow older it is important to maintain that there’s a balance of leaving them to play alone (to help develop independence), encouraging the siblings to play together (develop social skills, including sharing and empathy) and quality time with the parent. As the family grows the later becomes harder. There are just so many demands on a family’s time, energy and patience levels. So I am super excited to be spending time just me and my 7-year-old in London this weekend. We have a hotel booked and we are off to find the Shaun the Sheep.
Did you do anything to help introduce a sibling to the family? If you bought them a toy – how did you decide what to get them? How do you manage to find the perfect balance of time to ensure that you still find quality time for each of your children?
This is a collaborative post.