When we knew we were having another child we knew that telling Hollie, who was 5 at the time, would be easier than explaining it to a toddler.
I tried to make sure that Hollie got enough attention before Amelia came but also wanted her to be independent so she wouldn't feel more isolated and excluded than she was going to feel.
Hollie loved being involved in seeing how to look after Amelia and being able to fetch things to help. She took on a lot more responsibility than we realised but luckily, at the age she was and was quite sensible for her age, it worked really well. She did kind of grow up faster than we realised.
Trying to cope with a baby and felling tired etc, we were going to get grouchy. The one thing I found we were doing more is telling Hollie off for quite trivial things and would take things more out of context and worry unnecessarily, like not tidying her toys away where she would say she was still playing with them. It would make us realise that we weren't explaining things enough to her, just taking it for granted she understood.
It wasn't until Amelia was born that the guilt set in. I didn't feel much guilt really until after giving birth.
I have found that somethings have slipped, like reading Hollie a bedtime story and reading her school book. This I felt guilty for and know she needs to keep reading but before Amelia was born we would read her school book straight after school but routines slip and can be hard sometimes to bring them back.
The one thing that Hollie and I haven't had is quality time just the two of us. We have lots of family time, her dad takes her swimming and to football and I spend a lot of time with Amelia but I feel like I don't give Hollie enough one on one time. So that's something I hope to change this, this year. We will see!
Now that Amelia is 15 months and Holllie is 7, they play really well and love spending time together. I know as they get older this will change but for now we are enjoying how the girls relationship develops.
Here are a few of my tips for a child which is going from only child to older child:
- Get your older child to help you but don't expect too much from them.
- Spend time all together playing and interacting so your older child doesn't feel isolated.
- Ask if your older child has any questions about anything so they don't bottle things up and you don't presume they know things and are fine.
- Let them know you are proud of them, you appreciate them and like how grown up they are.
- Make sure your older child get the special quality time with you, your partner and family so they feel appreciated.
Do you have any tips or tricks that can help with being the older child? Would love to hear your thought too!