I recently read an article about having a third child. To sum it up, the article said, someone is always going to feel left out. That was literally my biggest fear about having a third child. I want all of my children to feel equally loved and valued. Here are 3 things we’ve done to help our children adjust to the new baby.
Planning fun time that does not include the baby.
It’s pretty easy for older children to feel left out with a new baby around. I’ve heard MJ say the phrase, “but what about me mommy,” a few times - and it literally breaks my heart every single time. To help with this, we plan alone time with her everyday so she knows we love her too. Some days it’s as simple as playing doctor or taking a walk to the grocery store to pick out her favorite ice cream. Other days it’s a special trip to the pool to hang out with her cousins. We don’t mention the baby and it’s all about her in those moments. We also do this with the teen because it’s easy for him to feel like a third parent since he’s so much older than his siblings. We always watch our favorite shows together and have movie nights with him. Recently, we started to listen to a podcast together which allows for great conversation. We also plan activities like beach days and visiting our local amusement park that involve his cousins or peers his age.
Celebrate them for being helpful.
It doesn’t matter how small or large the task we make sure our kids feel celebrated and appreciated. If the toddler throws a diaper away we’re handing out hugs and saying, “good job”, “thank you so much”, “you’re such a great big sister.” When the teens calms his sister while I’m in the shower or cooking, I make sure to say, “You’re such a great help son”, “Your sisters are so lucky to have a big brother like you.” It may sound cheesy, but all humans like to feel celebrated. It feels good to know you’re appreciated.
Create a routine
This was the most difficult thing to do. While we’re still not 100% there, routines make the day run much more smoothly. Every morning the toddler knows we chill in bed with our tablets for a little while before we get up for breakfast. The teen knows he’s in charge of after breakfast dishes. The toddler and teen both have learning time while the infant takes her morning nap. The teen studies Latin and the toddler does something sensory or writes and traces. When the girls and I are down for our afternoon nap, the teen takes that time to play his video games. After nap time, we usually go outside for fun or errands. Once hubby is home we talk about our days as a family and then he’s with the kids while I get dinner going or order takeout. We usually end our night watching a show or movie with the teen while the infant is sleep and the toddler is playing with her toys. Most days look like this unless we have something special planned.
These are a few things we've incorporated into our routine since we've become a family of 5. We are definitely still learning, but loving this "new normal."
Share any mommy tips and tricks you may have below.