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Old 01.10.2010, 11:06
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Re: Preparing the first child for the second one!

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Treating little babies gently is what most kids do. The time you need to prepare them for is when the baby gets mobile and starts taking their toys.

Holding or poking is the least of my worries. Jumping on, pushing over, driving over fingers, putting things on their heads or feeding the littles ones is a far bigger danger. My older son doesn't know when to stop when he gets silly.
Sure - but for me that's part of the "standard" parenting required. Children will fight (over toys) and act inappropriately, and parents should be monitoring the situation and be prepared to step in.

My point was more that children are very perceptive about body language, and "worrying over them" as they play or greet a baby is going to cause a reaction that may not be favourable, as is stopping them from just saying "hello" as it were. Simply put: you want something you can't have - and this is amplified in children and will lead to more stress for the parent, followed by more reaction from the child ad nauseam.

Sorry if that wasn't clear.

I saw this very clearly with my MIL's overbearing attitude and constant worrying about what might happen. Even I, as a bloke, could read her worries like a book. The more she tried to stop them doing something and fussing over the older child as it touched the younger one, there was a equally negative reaction* from the older sibling as it tried to interact with its new brother/sister.

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I don't leave my kids alone together and I won't put them in the same room at night.
I find this a bit of an odd statement given that thousands, probably millions, of children share rooms with their siblings.

Our two oldest share their room - since the youngest of the two was 2 yrs - with no problems. They are both still alive. I even know of people who will specifically put all their children together as they think that this is a good way of socialising them. I don't have an opinion on this either way. For us it is simply a matter of space - or lack thereof - and when we move house, they'll be getting their own rooms.

*Not towards the baby, just bad behaviour at being denied something so basically a "right"
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Old 01.10.2010, 11:22
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Re: Preparing the first child for the second one!

Sorry if someone has already mentioned this ... I asked all members of the extended family and other visitors to greet my older son first before looking at the baby. There's a big temptation for people to sweep in and bill and coo over the new baby inadvertently ignoring the older child. The baby, of course, doesn't know who is making a fuss over him or her, but a 1 and a half year old (in my case) does.

This worked well, family and friends would come in and kiss and cuddle my older boy and he would then ask them if they wanted to see his new brother. It helped him not to feel left out.

Someone else mentioned that its a good idea if the baby comes with a gift for the older child - we did this and found it to be good advice.

It's a lovely time when the children are young - enjoy it and congratulations.
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  #23  
Old 01.10.2010, 13:06
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Re: Preparing the first child for the second one!

You've got some really great responses here already. Just about sharing a room... I'd agree that at first you're likely to want the baby close to you so you don't have to get up too far in the night. I too thought that the kids could share a room but chose to postpone until the younger one can move confidently and respond with some understanding. Because:

-even the nicest, gentlest of preschoolers can do unsafe things to their younger siblings in the blink of any eye. Usually not meant in malice, but because they don't completely understand why an infant can't have a bite of their cookie or play with a certain kind of toy. My son for example, couldn't understand why his sister kept falling back on her head when he was "only trying to give her the milk bottle"! This would happen in the 2 seconds it took me to reach for a diaper.

-you need a quiet, out-of-the-way place where your older child can "escape" from the baby and mum's sometimes frazzled nerves. Even if she really likes the baby she needs a break where she can play like a big-child. Also, your child is likely to have passed through some stages of dangerous toys and things that baby shouldn't handle; sharing a room too early may mean you need to take things away although your older child already earned them.

-I don't know how your older child naps but they probably have a routine, and it may or may not match the baby for a long long time. What if baby sleeps for 3 hours and the older one has no access to her own space? Also, the difference in their ages means they fall asleep differently -while baby will need your help probably, the older child may need quiet to read a book or play out the day in her mind before falling asleep.

This has been my experience and obviously not the case for everyone. I suspect too that gender and behavioural stages will be a great influence (having an infant and a tantrum throwing two-year old together anywhere can be enough to send you bonkers no matter if they share a room or not )
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Old 01.10.2010, 13:27
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Re: Preparing the first child for the second one!

I got real great tips. I didn't think about some of them at all. For exemple, I didnt see an issue with the baby being in the same room as a toddler.

I always had my own room and I grow up alone so I don't know that much about kid's fight and jealousy, etc...
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Old 01.10.2010, 13:40
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Re: Preparing the first child for the second one!

I dont have two kids but I remember what it was like when my baby sister came along.

Mum did everything right when she was expecting. She told me I was going to have a baby sister, got me involved in hospital visits etc. I remember being very excited when I first met her at the hospital.

It all went wrong when they brought my sister home. Maybe our age gap was too big (7 years) and I've been enjoying the attention of being the only child for too long. Or perhaps the stress of a new baby, lack of sleep, and trying to divide her time for me made mum very snappy. I was left to my own devices alot and it got so bad that one day, I went to school and went up to the class blackboard and wrote: "SISTER FOR SALE".

Needless to say, my teacher called mum over that incident - a story mum likes to tell and embarass me in front of friends till today.

Point is, make sure you allocate some time to spend alone with your first child daily, without the second one with an activity you like to do together. Can be crafts, or simply watching a telly program together. Make her feel like you still love her just as much and you still have all the time in the world - just for her.
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Old 01.10.2010, 13:51
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Re: Preparing the first child for the second one!

When our second came along, the first (2 yrs) stayed with my husband's parents. So, when they brought her to the hospital we let her meet her new sister and then I took her alone to the toy-filled waiting room of the pediatrics ward and played with her. Sort of sending the message that this new person is not a replacement etc.
We also did the present thing. And for months after, whenever we took pics of the baby we would take pics of her alone too. Seemed to work - no jealously.
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Old 01.10.2010, 14:09
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Re: Preparing the first child for the second one!

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Treating little babies gently is what most kids do. The time you need to prepare them for is when the baby gets mobile and starts taking their toys.

Holding or poking is the least of my worries. Jumping on, pushing over, driving over fingers, putting things on their heads or feeding the littles ones is a far bigger danger. My older son doesn't know when to stop when he gets silly. I don't leave my kids alone together and I won't put them in the same room at night.
I couldn't agree more! My son isn't purposely aggressive but at this age they've got a short-lived sense of how they embody physical space -which parent hasn't got a toddler's elbow digging into their sensitive areas () when they climb on to you for a cuddle? Just this morning my older one stepped on the baby's arm by complete accident -she screamed and he turned and asked ME "what's her trouble mum?". Completely unawares of where that foot went! But yes, somehow I suppose they do survive.
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Old 01.10.2010, 14:38
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Re: Preparing the first child for the second one!

Well, I don't know about you guys, but say Mr L went off and came back with a new wife, expected me to help him to look after her, perhaps give up my bed, clothes, my mobile, my computer, my guitar - Man! even if I don't use them any more, they are MINE! Say he expected me to watch while he gave this other female his attention, made me hang around when I want to go out until she was ready... and then she'd wake me in the night, have all the relatives saying how pretty she is and how nicely she eats/drinks instead of saying how clever I am - I don't care how convincing his 'I love you just the same' talk came over. I might be nice to her when he's around. I might even be nice to her when he's not. I might be fond of her I suppose. I'd probably be very proud of everyone telling me how pleased they are with me because I helped look after her... but not jealous, not even a tiny, tiny bit - no way.

I think it's pretty logical that an elder child, having been usurped by this crying, wetting, time-taking sibling, occasionally thinks back with longing to the time when it was just 'Mum, Dad and me'. Not being jealous and not showing jealousy are really not the same thing.
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Old 01.10.2010, 14:45
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Re: Preparing the first child for the second one!

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I couldn't agree more! My son isn't purposely aggressive but at this age they've got a short-lived sense of how they embody physical space -which parent hasn't got a toddler's elbow digging into their sensitive areas () when they climb on to you for a cuddle? Just this morning my older one stepped on the baby's arm by complete accident -she screamed and he turned and asked ME "what's her trouble mum?". Completely unawares of where that foot went! But yes, somehow I suppose they do survive.
Before we went out this morning I caught him drop-kicking her. She was laughing too until she got hurt. While I was getting lunch ready he was playing with her cheeks and eyelids He got a time out until daddy was home for lunch.

The toddler's guide says not to leave kids under 5 alone with their siblings because you never know what they may do. Our pediatrician recommended doing the therapy we needed to do with our baby where our son couldn't see. It involved rolling her on a big exercise ball to strengthen her neck muscles on the weak side. The pediatrician said that our son was likely to copy us and hurt his sister if he saw.

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I find this a bit of an odd statement given that thousands, probably millions, of children share rooms with their siblings.

Our two oldest share their room - since the youngest of the two was 2 yrs - with no problems. They are both still alive. I even know of people who will specifically put all their children together as they think that this is a good way of socialising them. I don't have an opinion on this either way. For us it is simply a matter of space - or lack thereof - and when we move house, they'll be getting their own rooms.
But you didn't put a baby in with an older sibling that isn't old enough to know when to stop and doesn't known their own strength or the consequences of their actions. Image the baby is crying and your older kid tries to feed the baby, or jumps in the cot with the baby, or throws something heavy in the cot. I found my son in the cot with his sister, another time he accidentally slipped with something above the cot while standing up on our bed. Both times I was seconds away, but I couldn't leave them both in a room while I am sleeping in the next room. Maybe it will be different when my little one stops putting everything in her mouth and my son grows up a bit.
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Old 01.10.2010, 15:14
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Re: Preparing the first child for the second one!

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since the youngest of the two was 2 yrs
But you didn't put a baby in with an older sibling that isn't old enough to know when to stop and doesn't known their own strength or the consequences of their actions.
...and you didn't say how old your children are, only...

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... I don't leave my kids alone together and I won't put them in the same room at night.


I would suggest, however, that children don't always know how their actions are going to turn out until much later, e.g. as old as 8+ yrs. Aged 5-7 yrs, they can still try to be *ahem* helpful with as much if not more damage than a 2-4 yr old might achieve.
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Old 01.10.2010, 15:31
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Re: Preparing the first child for the second one!

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Sorry if someone has already mentioned this ... I asked all members of the extended family and other visitors to greet my older son first before looking at the baby. There's a big temptation for people to sweep in and bill and coo over the new baby inadvertently ignoring the older child. The baby, of course, doesn't know who is making a fuss over him or her, but a 1 and a half year old (in my case) does.

This worked well, family and friends would come in and kiss and cuddle my older boy and he would then ask them if they wanted to see his new brother. It helped him not to feel left out.

Someone else mentioned that its a good idea if the baby comes with a gift for the older child - we did this and found it to be good advice.

It's a lovely time when the children are young - enjoy it and congratulations.
This is excellent advice.

We got the older one to help wrap a present for the baby on his first visit to the hospital. The older one was delighted to receive one from the baby in return.

Our Swiss neighbours and friends were great - they all, without fail, ensured when they brought round a present for the baby (which was very kind in itself), that they also brought one for the older child.
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Old 01.10.2010, 18:44
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Re: Preparing the first child for the second one!

My older ,Emilie, was already 3 1/2 when I finally fell pregnant. I waited to be at least 5 months pregnant so that she could see my tommy getting big when I told her. Also, at this age 9 months seems a life time so the later the less wait it is.

Emilie chose the little teddy bear ( doudou) for the baby and she was so proud to bring it along and give it to her new sis when she saw her the first time at the hospital.

I also read a book about a baby being born and we went through everything relating to her future baby sister.

We explained over and over again how things will go when I have to go to the hospital, how things would be organised , who would look after her, when her dady would take her to the hospital ets... luckily everything went according to plan... the only thing is that she did not understand why i was stuck in bed when she came to see me.. I was in too much pain to get out of my bed the first 24 hours... anyways, the important thing is that she could feel totally included and did not feel abandonned or rejected.

On a few occasions we took her to the hospital to see the baby on the scan.

Her baby sis, zoe, stayed in our room until she was 5 months or so... i was breasfeeding on demand and the kids room was one storey below so much more convenient. then I moved her with her big sis. It is true that I've heard bad storied about older sibbling treating badly the baby when they share but it has never been the case with my 2.

When we moved here, Zoe was 10 & Emilie 5 and they've shared even since. For the moment it's going well but it is hard for Emilie to play without having zoe destroying everything and when we have a friedn around I have to change zoe's nap time. BUt the worst thing is that Zoe often disturbes Emilie;s sleep and she cann't sleep as long as she could.
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Old 01.10.2010, 18:52
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Re: Preparing the first child for the second one!

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Our Swiss neighbours and friends were great - they all, without fail, ensured when they brought round a present for the baby (which was very kind in itself), that they also brought one for the older child.
Like a congratulation to become a big sister! Nice!
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Old 02.10.2010, 08:23
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Re: Preparing the first child for the second one!

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But you didn't put a baby in with an older sibling that isn't old enough to know when to stop and doesn't known their own strength or the consequences of their actions.
That really depends on the child, though, and their maturity.

We were 3yr apart and each baby always lived with folks for a year, then we all shared a room. Parents were always a step away, in case the baby cried, to supervise, so there was not much chance and time for any real menace. But I think it really depends how one raises their kids. Some kids are absolutely fine with their little siblings sharing room with them, we had rules, and followed them. Now - despite of me and my folks being quite liberal parents, we have absolutely zero tolerance for hurting somebody else. None, from the start. I guess one has to brainwash a child this way. It works much better if the child is exposed to one primary child carer for a long time.

A friend of mine had issue with an older girl really hurting her baby brother when wee small (sneaking up a baby crib, hit and scratch, etc), but when we really talked about it, we found out the parents were quite mean to that 3yr old girl, didn't help her accept her new role, just said "time to learn like others do" and pushed it without any concern about how sensitive she was about it, with a mean attitude. So, I think it really depends on the family dynamics, on each individual child and what is and what is not tolerated in the family (or, how aggressive other children are allowed to be in creche, etc.).

To say all tots should be separated from babies at night, for example, or until 5yr in their own room is nonsense.

That said, my dad when 3yr old tried to set up a fire under his baby bro's crib when baby cried from being cold...
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Old 02.10.2010, 10:07
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Re: Preparing the first child for the second one!

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That said, my dad when 3yr old tried to set up a fire under his baby bro's crib when baby cried from being cold...
Yeah, that's what he said, and I guess he's sticking to the story...
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Old 02.10.2010, 10:11
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Re: Preparing the first child for the second one!

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Sorry if someone has already mentioned this ... I asked all members of the extended family and other visitors to greet my older son first before looking at the baby. There's a big temptation for people to sweep in and bill and coo over the new baby inadvertently ignoring the older child. The baby, of course, doesn't know who is making a fuss over him or her, but a 1 and a half year old (in my case) does.

This worked well, family and friends would come in and kiss and cuddle my older boy and he would then ask them if they wanted to see his new brother. It helped him not to feel left out.

Someone else mentioned that its a good idea if the baby comes with a gift for the older child - we did this and found it to be good advice.

It's a lovely time when the children are young - enjoy it and congratulations.
This is excellent advice.
Thirded.

We did that too, although, I get the impression it is more of a continental thing that UK - I could be wrong, but we did it for ours and our friend's children (when they had siblings - obviously). However, when we've done it for friends in the UK, they act a little surprised.

Anyone else find this too, or is it only our UK-based friends?
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Old 03.10.2010, 12:36
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Re: Preparing the first child for the second one!

My parents were working in Uganda in 1963 when I was born. 3 weeks before my birth they put my sister, who was ten at the time, in boarding school.

She has since said to me that she (at the time) thought she was being replaced. They never explained anything to her, or got her to bond with me. It has taken a long time for us to become loving sisters. And we talk for hours and hours now..

Thank god that now there are ways and means for siblings to relate and bond.
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Old 19.03.2011, 12:14
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Re: Preparing the first child for the second one!

Lots of great tips here am getting ready for second arrival in about 10 weeks so really good to read this!

What I wanted to add is that what we did is start to prepare the flat bits at time so that number 1 (now 2.5 yrs old) gets used to all things baby.

We first did the highchair, then new clothes and a teddy and then a second cot in her room... The latter was a bit more difficult as it touches 'her' space. We have stopped referring to her room as her own and talk a lot about what will the baby do when it arrives.

I find this helps as she is starting to realize the "space" that baby will take.

One thing I am unsure about is whether to take her to hospital or not... She iis used to being without me for 3-4 days as I travel for work and I am wondering whether visiting in hospital may be exhausting for all and also whether she will not like leaving again without me.

Anyone chose not to bring older child to hospital?

Cheers,
K
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Old 19.03.2011, 12:20
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Re: Preparing the first child for the second one!

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Lots of great tips here am getting ready for second arrival in about 10 weeks so really good to read this!

What I wanted to add is that what we did is start to prepare the flat bits at time so that number 1 (now 2.5 yrs old) gets used to all things baby.

We first did the highchair, then new clothes and a teddy and then a second cot in her room... The latter was a bit more difficult as it touches 'her' space. We have stopped referring to her room as her own and talk a lot about what will the baby do when it arrives.

I find this helps as she is starting to realize the "space" that baby will take.

One thing I am unsure about is whether to take her to hospital or not... She iis used to being without me for 3-4 days as I travel for work and I am wondering whether visiting in hospital may be exhausting for all and also whether she will not like leaving again without me.

Anyone chose not to bring older child to hospital?

Cheers,
K
Mine never been away from me more than a few hours... So a five days in the hospital will be something hard for both of us! I think it will be better for her to come to visit me, than not seeing me at all.

The very good news is that my parents-in-law will be there when we will leave for the hospital, so she will have some new people to take care of her, entertain her and spoiled her...

She won't miss me to much. And when she will come to visit at the hospital (probably after her afternoon nap on the day of birth) She will meet her little brother who will give her the best gift ever; a doll of her favorite movie!

That should help her to like him.... How much cool a little brother can be?
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Old 19.03.2011, 12:27
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Re: Preparing the first child for the second one!

Our elder daughter was almost two when our second child was born. She came happily to see 'Mummy lying in a bed!' I don't think she had ever seen me prone before! but went home with her Dad just as happily. There was a railway line parallel to the road and she couldn't wait to see if there would be a train on it...

My first granddaughter was disturbed at first by the very loud crying of her sibling and wasn't too keen on the idea that this baby was definitely here to stay. It wasn't that she hadn't been told but reality took a while to sink in.

I think visitors who greet the elder child first can make an enormous difference to the acceptance of the baby. It is an addition not a usurper.
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