1. Encourage the Role of “Big Helper”
Our 3 year-old daughter is the “best big sister in the whole world” — a title she proudly announces regularly. Enabling your older child to help with the daily tasks of caring for baby will both empower her and make her feel special and included. We gave our daughter a piggy bank and every time she helps us out with her baby brother (to a rational extent): stacking clean diapers in a basket, matching the baby socks in the laundry, reading a book to her brother during tummy time, we give her a quarter for her bank. When she saves up enough money, she may buy a toy. Of course, sometimes children should just pitch in without there being a ‘reward,’ but enabling them to earn something once in a while is a fun way for them to be a “big helper.” After this system is established, nine times out of ten, your child will offer to help because she knows it’s the right thing to do… and maybe once in a while she’ll do it for the quarter!
2. Involve and Engage Your Child on a Level He Can Understand
Depending on your child’s maturity level, you can involve him in many of the experiences you are sharing with your baby. One rule of thumb: try not to ever shun your older child by saying things such as, “Not now, I’m with the baby,” or they will grow to resent the baby for taking your time away from them. Instead, try to engage your child in the process with helpful tools such as this crafty DIY No-Sew Doll Carrier, which will allow your little one to cuddle up to a treasured doll or stuffed toy while you are babywearing also. This organic sleepy bear also promotes joint bonding sessions, and this Jill doll and Moses basket set will make your older child feel like she has a purpose and something to take care of while you’re busy with baby as well.
3. Foster Your Toddler’s Own Interests and Activities
Babies and the care they require can be all-consuming, so it’s important to carve out and maintain a sacred niche for your older child that is exclusively hers. Get her a musical instrument (our daughter wanted to learn to play guitar), or sign her up for dance, sports, or art classes depending on her interests. Of course, if your child is already in school, that is a great diversion and something exclusively hers, but if she is at home with you and the baby all day, finding time to sit and do crafts or play games where your focus is on her will make her feel special and secure.
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