C.K. asks from Canton, GA on May 13, 2008
Need Time for 5 Year Old
I have two boys, 51/2 years and 20 months. The oldest goes to pre-k and I pick him up everyday at 2:30pm. At this point, I have spent all day with the youngest and want to give my older boy time playing and attention, but I cannot do it. The oldest is always wrestling and antagonizing his brother. He'll only play if his friends come over or he goes to their house. I try to encourage him to work on puzzles or color, but he wants me to play with him. The toddler won't allow that. He's on top of us if we try to do anything and screams if he's gated out of the area where we are.
When he's home this summer, I plan to focus on him during the baby's naptime.
So What Happened?™
Thanks for all your suggestions. I'm really trying to make an effort with the older one and not just keep them separated. I just love them both so much, I feel guilty when the baby dominates our attention. My mother played favorites with me and my siblings and I DONT want my children to ever feel like that.
E.B. answers from Augusta on May 14, 2008
I know exacly how you feel! My toddler wants to be in the middle of everything and it's hard to get in that one-on-one time with my 8 year old. I found that letting my toddler do one of his favorite activities (like painting) allowed my other son and I to have some free time. It seems that if it is obvious that I'm trying to get him out of the way, he will try even harder to get to us! If I let him see what we are doing and maybe even have him "help" (like handing out money for Monopoly or flipping the cards), he feels good and sometimes even gets bored with it and moves onto something else. One other thing I do if I really want to get in some extra special time is put my younger one to bed 15 minutes early and let my older one stay up 15 minutes later. I then have 30 minutes for snuggling, talking about the day, or reading a story. I hope this helps! =)
K.L. answers from Charleston on May 13, 2008
Why can't you play with both of them? I appreciate they have different needs, but why not put on a puppet show for them or play with flashcards or play simon says or put on fun music and dance around your living room or any number of activities that will engage your older son while entertaining your youngest? You could even encourage the oldest to make a game out of getting the younger to laugh through the "funny face game" or play hide and seek under a blanket. Just a little creativity will help solve this problem -- you do not need to isolate your kids from each other. You had 3 years of one-on-one time with the older so you need not feel guilty that he now much share "his" time with his brother. As they get older it will balance out again. Check the activities on www.rookiemoms.com for starters.
R.C. answers from Atlanta on May 14, 2008
It was hard for me when child #2 came, to get over the guilt of not doing so much with child #1. But, I have 4 children now and I no longer feel that way. I try to spend special one on one time with each kid, that's most easy on the weekends. There are times everyone is going to one child's soccer game or whatever. Then we all root for the one playing. It's really better for the kid to not feel like the world revolves around them completely. Maybe when your husband gets home from work, you can read with your 5 year old or something. It sounds like the older one is a little worn out from pre-k and having to behave and sit still so much at school. It sounds normal to me that he wants to wrestle with his little brother. I think he just wants to play. It will make baby tougher too. Who can blame baby for not wanting to be left out. Maybe he could be in a playpen closer to the action. Good luck. It'll get easier.
N.K. answers from Atlanta on May 14, 2008
C.- I have the same problem, my middle son just turned 5 and my youngest is 17 mos- the 5 year old is wild after school and doesnt behave appropriatly with the younger one- it's very frustrating- can't wait till summer! for now- I would try to put the baby in highchair and let him "color" or play playdough while you and your 5 year old do the same...or go outside and swing together or go for a walk in the neighborhood- your 5 year old has some pent up energy to get out after school - so something active is really nice- and wha tabout bed time? I put my baby to bed between 6:30 and 7:00 - so that gives me time to spend an hour with my two oder ones without the baby around....
Good LUck- I know its hard!
Have you also tried a mothers helper? a young girl in the neighborhood (between 8-11) that can help with the baby while you spend time with the older one??
give it a try!
B.T. answers from Atlanta on May 15, 2008
I just returned from Europe where my 4 yr old and 1 yr old granddaughters are. I can see your problem. I know my 1 yr old has favorite toys or play stations and I would suggest to save your youngest sons favorite toys or play areas for when your 5 yr old comes home. It is important for each to have your time and I admire you asking for suggestions from others.
Hope all works out well for you and your sons.