January 29, 2019 at 9:57 am #1318
My son (2) is taking a while to warm up to his new sister (6w). What are some ways I can encourage him to show gentle affection towards her, or at least show any interest at all?February 5, 2019 at 4:08 pm #1705
Hi Melissa! Definitely not an expert here but we have a 3.5 year old who is VERY protective and loving towards her 1 year old brother. One of the things we did early on was say “I think he likes it best when you hold him!” “Look, you always know how to make him smile.” “He always perks up whenever you’re in the room- he must love you so much!” “How come nobody else can get him to laugh but you?! It’s clear he’s crazy about you!” We just consistently made remarks about how much the little one liked the big one and she started to take ownership of that. So then, when it was time for him to learn how to sit, crawl, walk etc we would always comment “Oh gosh, you taught him that! He wants to be just like you!” Slowly but surely she has become completely obsessed with him AND the thought that she taught him everything he knows! heheFebruary 6, 2019 at 12:55 pm #1756
Oh Emily, we love these ideas and this valued wisdom! Thanks for sharing here!
Agreed, Melissa, Emily’s direction seemed to work well for our family as well. During our transition, we tried to reserve the baby’s naps for 1:1 time (as much as possible) with our daughter, and a friend of mine swore by a small, semantic tip that might help: refer to the baby as “your sister” rather than “the baby,” or “the new baby” or “our baby.” It’s a small shift in ownership and did seem to keep any simmering attention rivalry at bay!
We’ve also found empathizing with our daughter was helpful. Like, “It will be so nice when this baby can actually DO things with you! It’s so hard to wait to play with him!” Sometimes, we’d encourage her to draw a picture of all the things she’ll want to teach him someday, or all the rules he’ll need to know, or which toys she’ll want to share and which ones she won’t. ;) It seemed to tide her over until they could actually interact on some sort of sibling level.
We also encouraged her to use as many senses other than touch (which wasn’t always so gentle!). We asked her to use her voice to connect with him. We’d explain that even though babies don’t move around a lot, their ears and brains are always paying attention! We’d ask her which songs she wanted to sing to him, or which rhymes he should learn. (To this day, she’s the only one who can get him to stop crying in his car seat when she sings “Something Just Like This!”)
Or, she’d use her nose by sniffing him and saying, “He needs a new diaper!” Or her eyes by saying, “He looks hungry!” Whether or not it was true, she felt like she was helping in a real, tangible way. :)February 7, 2019 at 3:34 pm #1833
Our boys are two and ten months (21 months apart). When we first brought little brother home we would often all crawl into our big bed for snuggles, stories, and prayer time. Often I would nurse our little one while Daddy read the stories. Sometimes big brother would start hitting me or his little brother. We found it helpful to give him words to say instead: “I need Mommy snuggles now please”. This has been huge for us still in helping him to communicate. We also had him practice gentle touches (and still do each time he is overly aggressive).
For us too it has been helpful to let the older hold his little brother and calling him brother instead of baby.
My husband loves to ask our 2 year old, “What’s your name?” Followed by, “What’s your brother’s name?” He loves to shout them both out.
If anything else comes to mind, I will let you know. 😊February 8, 2019 at 10:44 am #1863
Thank you all for the advice and tips! I can’t wait to try them out and looking forward to seeing his affection grow.February 8, 2019 at 1:09 pm #1872
Cheering you on, Melissa! :)February 24, 2019 at 11:12 am #2386
I just wanted to update and say thanks again for the advice. My son will occasionally give his sister kisses and has even hugged her unprompted!February 25, 2019 at 10:39 am #2418
Amazing! Well done, Melissa – so thrilled for you! :)February 25, 2019 at 5:59 pm #2428
That is great! Good job, Melissa!
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