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Babies Close in Age: Best Friends

by Katlyn Joy | August 29, 2011 12:00 AM
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Babies Close in Age: Best Friends

While there are pros to having kids close in age, such as built in playmates and closeness, and cons such as jealousy and time issues, once you're bringing home baby the advantages and disadvantages are unimportant. What you need to know is how to ease potential envy or resentment and build a positive relationship between siblings from day one.

During Pregnancy

At the Hospital

Bringing Baby Home

New Relationships

Never force a child to share, and be aware when hand-me-downs seem like backstabbing events to the older child. Yes, he might have been sick of that baby toy but that was before you gave it to his little sister. Now it's priceless and a favorite.

Expect some regression from the big sibling. Some potty accidents, thumb sucking or even experimenting with sucking on a pacifier or bottle are normal. Don't overreact and just give everyone time to settle into the new family constellation.

Similarly, don't be surprised if your older child voices some less than loving thoughts regarding the new baby. Telling the older child that it isn't nice, or plain denying, "You don't hate your baby brother!" are not particularly helpful ideas.

Rather acknowledge the emotions and explain possible reasons the child may feel that way. Tell your child you know sometimes people have frustration or bad feelings even about people they love. Let your child know it's OK to talk to you about those not so good feelings.

Sometimes when children are especially close in age, it means a premature end to the older child's babyhood. Don't let this happen. Don't fall into the trap of expecting the older child to act older than is reasonable. One of the best ways to build a close relationship between stair step siblings is to preserve the older child's baby and toddler-hood. Don't rush the oldest to be a big kid.

Like all of parenting, raising a baby and toddler at the same time takes incredible balance. You'll find it falls into place easier on some days than others. The best way to insure this is to find time for each child and never force children to behave emotionally in ways that they don't feel or understand.


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