When I was pregnant with Paul, it was a huge fear and concern of mine that my other three kids would feel left out and ignored. I desperately worried that I wouldn’t have enough time/energy/love to go around, to successfully parent four young children.
And while it has been a struggle to find a daily rhythm that works for everyone, I think we’ve hit a good stride. I’ve found that one of the best things I can do for the older kids is make them feel like a valued and active participant with the new baby.
Letting them help out and make decisions regarding the baby has empowered them.
11 Ways Older Siblings Can Help with the Baby:
Photoshoot with the baby 1 of 11I have my camera out all the time, and sometimes it's just fun to hand over the lens to my oldest. She loves taking photos of baby Paul, then looking at her shots later on the computer!
Hang the baby’s diapers 2 of 11We *mostly* cloth diaper, which means in the hot summer months we hang our fluff to dry. This is a chore I've given to my 5-year-old, and she's really good at it!
Feed the baby 3 of 11Baby Paul doesn't get too many bottles. But when he does, his older siblings are sure to help.
Entertain the baby 4 of 11When I'm getting dressed or taking a quick shower, I let my girls entertain baby Paul.
Skype about the baby 5 of 11Instead of me telling far away friends and family about about all of baby Paul's new tricks, I let the big kids spill the news.
Decorate the baby’s room 6 of 11I let my big kids take an active roll in designing the nursery. I think it turned out great!
Dress the baby 7 of 11As long as the baby is dressed, this momma does not care what he is wearing. My daughter loves to get Paul ready for the day.
Feed the baby 8 of 11Paul eats off a spoon two times a day. I let my oldest feed him when she wants. It's messy, but I don't care!
Shop for the baby 9 of 11No, these Oscar the Grouch shoes would not have been my first choice for baby Paul's feet. But, my 5-year-old loves them and desperately wanted to get the for Paul, so I guess I love them too!
Pick up the baby 10 of 11I have a daughter that is finally at the age where she can pick Paul up and sooth him when he gets upset.
Wash the baby 11 of 11While this is a very closely supervised event, I always let willing little helpers scrub the baby at the end of the day.
And yes, sometimes it takes longer and doesn’t get done the way I would have done things. But at the end of the day, those things are trivial in comparison to my older children’s feeling secure with their role in our family.
How about you? How do you empower your big kids when it comes to helping out with the baby?
More Babbling from Emily…
- 6 Ways I’m Naturally Alleviating Teething Pain
- Don’t Sweat the Mom Stuff: 9 Worries to Skip After Baby #1
- Paul’s First Trip to the Beach
- Creating an Emergency Diaper Kit for the Car