When I was pregnant with Miss Diva Pants, the 5-year-old boy couldn’t wait to meet her. He’d named her, told us she spoke to him at night 😱 and counted the days until she was here. We thought we had it made. Then she turned up and sibling rivalry hit our house harder than Storm Doris.
It’s been 6 months of tears and screaming (and that’s just from us: arf arf) but some things along the way have helped A LOT.
1. When presents present a problem
We’ve all heard the tip about buying the older one a present from the baby. And whatever age they are, it works. I mean, who doesn’t love a present? However, when your mates are popping round with gifts for the babe & nothing for the older one, that kid isn’t going to like it. So we bought a few arts & crafty things wrapped them up & handed them to him when the baby was being showered with gifts. Bribery maybe, but it stopped him feeling left out & (more) resentment building 🙂
2. Caring is sharing
For Christmas, he got Hot Wheels (natch) but the toy they both wanted to play with was a train set she was given. It bought us 3 hours of harmony. The saviour in our house is any toy featuring blocks. He stacks them up, she knocks them down… sibling play at its best.
3. It’s good to talk
If your older sibling is verbal, setting aside a few minutes a day to make sure they’re happy, is a must. Although our ‘chats’ are more like a junior Jeremy Kyle, it’s helped me understand what’s going on in his head. Got a younger kid? There’s a huge range of books out there all about teaching them how to accept their new little rival. Written in kids’ speak, I particularly love Za-Za's Baby Brother.
4. Them time
Ok, this kinda follows on from the last point, but as well as those chats, half an hour of one-to-one time has really made a difference. Pick a time when your baby is happiest & stick them in their bouncer or on their playmat. Then really focus on the older one. 'Our time' is usually spent playing a game, but it can be anything they want it to be.
5. Hang on in there!
It does get better…apparently. When I’ve cried into my coffee in front of parents of 2, I’m told they’ve all been through it & lived to tell the tale. And once their youngest has started crawling and interacting, the oldest is ‘all over them.’ Despite their reassurances I’m not holding my breath just yet.
So good luck! And remember, if you need any more guidance, our Live Chat Team are always here to help, 9am-5pm, every weekday (apart from bank holidays). Just hit that purple button, bottom right.
Header pic credit: Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash