I am the only child of my parents and so it was a big decision for us to decide on having a sibling for my daughter. My hubby has two brothers and he always wanted to have another child. On the other hand, I was not too sure – whether I would be able to balance home, 2 kids and office properly without doing injustice to any of them, whether it would be overly taxing physically and mentally to raise 2 kids and so on… Myriad of thoughts were lingering on my mind. Finally, we decided to go ahead and complete our family.

Now that we have 2 kids – double trouble or double fun or both? Read on to find out how we and kids coped up the initial period and how we learnt to handle tricky situations like sibling fights.

When the new child joins you, take extra care of your first child

Easier to say but not that simple to do! When a new child joins your family, my experience says that the first child goes through the biggest transition. For first few  years, this elder apple of your eyes enjoys everything alone, all for himself / herself – parents’ love, toys and all other perks of being a kid and then boom!!! One tiny baby who cannot talk, cannot do stuff by itself suddenly barges in the home and the first child finds it all too overwhelming…At least I have witnessed so.

My daughter was around 6 years old when she got her bro. So already a big girl and she took her time to adjust to the “new situation”. She was excited to see and play with the baby but at the same time, she felt that probably she wouldn’t get the undivided attention of her parents. My girl also got a bit disappointed with the fact that baby “doesn’t do anything” – he just drinks milk, sleeps and ewwww, he keeps pooping. She used to express all this pretty openly. That kept us on track and helped us to handle this scenario in a better way.

Certain things that we must take care when the new baby comes home:

  • Parents must keep talking to the elder child about the new baby even before it arrives. During the entire period of pregnancy, we should keep preparing the elder kid on what to expect and not to expect when the sibling arrives.
  • Once the sibling arrives, both parents should consciously make sure that the elder child feels comfortable and accepts the new situation willingly.
  • If mom is busy taking care of the baby, dad should be taking the responsibility of the elder one to ensure both kids get equal attention. In fact, the elder one needs a bit more care, love and reassurance from parents at least during first 6 months – 1 year period.

Play together and Make the Siblings bond with each other

Recently came across this article and I totally agree with what is mentioned in ita Family that Plays together, Stays together!

When the siblings start growing together, staying together and playing together, half the battle won by parents. Kids are naturally very loving and caring. It is just that sometimes they are not able to express it properly and then the fights, no-sharing and rivalry starts. It can happen with the elder or the younger or both kids.

Some of the things that we have tried with our kids:

  1. Find activities that they can do together –

In our case one is a girl and another is a boy so we cannot really expect that the boy will play with dolls and the girl with cars all the time. So, we figured out a few activities like arts, swimming, going to playgrounds that they both love to do. This way, siblings start to bond with each other and sharing of common interests bring them even closer.

  1. Dad-Mom also play with them –

Initially, when the younger one was quite small and the elder was not sure what to do with her baby brother, we ensured that we played with them. We encouraged the girl to try out his toys like rattles, musical cars etc. and start engaging him. She found it a bit boring initially but when the baby boy started responding to his sister by giggling, babbling, the girl started enjoying it.
When both grew a bit older, they started their own plays like Mock Shops, Car Wash etc. Of course, we monitored them for safety reasons and to confirm smooth play.

  1. Spending some sibling-time daily –

Just like me-time, we-time, Sibling-time is also crucial. Now both the kids have their schools, other co and extra-curricular stuff so generally they are tied-up whole day. But we see to it that they interact, play at least for some time every day. It could be some silly talks or could be some pretend play or just jumping and running around. These little moments refresh them instantly.

Managing siblings fights

As they say when you have two kids, you become a referee! I cannot agree more. Just like any 2 people, even these little people will have their fair share of differences and will fight. In fact, it is a great learning experience for parents and kids both to love, to live and let live finding their ways through fights and clashed opinions.

Some tips and tricks that we have tried:

Set the rules of the game beforehand:

This is rather tricky sometimes because the siblings have different ages and the same set of rules of play wouldn’t apply to them. Be it discipline or manners, we should take into consideration their ages. Of course, that doesn’t mean that younger kid always gets a leeway because of their lesser age and ability to understand. We try to strike some balance here.

Give Kids some scope and time to settle their conflicts:

I believe in not too much interference in kids’ own matters. When the siblings are playing with each other, we can give them some directions but it’s fun to watch them navigate their own way and learn.

I have seen that when they are playing together, they will play very amicably for some time and then suddenly the fight breaks out – Mom, she is doing this, Dad, he is being annoying. Sometimes, the emotions are very intense and voices are loud.

In such cases, of course, we must intervene and arrive at some solution. But otherwise, we always tell them that when they are playing, it’s their responsibility to manage things and settles issues by negotiations. Since now both are a bit older, they understand this and try to smoothen the rough edges. In this process, they learn teamwork and know each other’s personality traits more closely.

Do certain things to help them to get along better:

As parents, we should take care of certain points to ensure that both kids feel secured and loved:

  • Don’t draw comparisons between them. I have accidentally done this before and my daughter reacted sharply when I did that. So now no more comparisons for us.
  • Enjoy each kid’s unique abilities, skills and enjoy their shaping up years. Appreciate and encourage each of them. This will also make them value each other more.
  • Lead by example as far as sharing is concerned.
  • Siblings need each other’s time. At the same time, we also should realize that they require their alone-time to do their own thing and have their own space.

Yes, when you have 2 kids, it’s double the trouble to an extent. But then again, Double the Fun or should I say multitudes of FUN is also guaranteed. What’s your experience of raising more than one kid? Do share.

This blog post is in collaboration with Friso.

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