If you have a new baby with older siblings in the house, you’ll want to remember this little trick. It’s simple, powerful, free, convenient and efficient. If you could bottle it, it would be worth a fortune! But since you can’t, I’ll just tell you.
Life with a new baby in the house is not easy for older siblings. Especially older siblings who are not very much older. The two- and three-year-olds. They’re not mature enough to make sense of what’s happening but are old enough to feel totally hurt by it. So much of the love and attention that used to pour into their little hearts now seems to be diverted to the baby, leaving them feeling painful emotional hunger. But we parents are busy and sleep-deprived and overwhelmed, and frankly don’t have any extra energy to give. We love them to pieces, of course, but we’re often too tired to show it in a way that they’ll pick up on.
So anything that fills up their emotional tanks without bankrupting ours is kind of like gold. Enter today’s trick. Here’s what you do:
- Pick up the baby and hold the baby in your arms, facing you.
- Walk to where you know you’re within ears range of big brother or big sister. (The younger they are, the closer you can be without being too obvious.)
- Gaze into baby’s eyes, rocking back and forth, and without looking up at the older sibling, begin to tell the baby about his or her big brother or sister. Tell the baby about all your favorite things about your older child, about the things they can do, about how happy and proud they make you. Tell the baby how lucky he or she is to have such a wonderful big sibling.
And that’s it! Don’t be shy or conservative with this. Gush on and on about how awesome that kid is. Consider it emotional medicine for your (bigger) little one’s hurting heart. It is!
The best thing about this trick, besides that you can do it anywhere with no additional parts required, is that it’s a double shot of outgoing attention. There are few things that do for a child what undivided attention from a loving parent does. And by definition, it’s impossible to give two kids undivided attention at once. So this trick is very unique in that it allows you to give both kids that intense shot of loving attention at once. The older child feels like the center of attention, because they seem to be all you can talk about. And the baby feels like the center of attention, because your eye contact, smiling face and loving tone are directed at them. And everybody wins.