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Two-years-old! What a milestone for little ones, and how quickly it came! Jack is my now, baby, growing into such a little boy, and he is soon-to-be the middle child. Jack definitely enjoys the status of “baby.” He still loves me to hold him, rather than walk, and he prefers to fall asleep next to me instead of in his bed. It’s a special place to be the middle child, and there are some important ways you can give your middle child some special attention.
First, Read Them Special Books: Just as you maybe did with your oldest having a new sibling, your middle child can really benefit from being some books in being in the middle. Here are some great starters:
Second, Give Them A Special Toy: I remember getting a small toy when my younger sister was born. I’m actually the oldest, but the idea is great for the middle child. I gave each of my boys a special gift from our third baby in the hospital, so they could feel special. Some great ideas for this type of toy is a toy they can care for like a stuffed animal. I still have the stuffed zebra I got. Then, your middle child can copy you caring for the new baby by caring for their new toy. It allows them to stay connected with you as your attention turns to the new little bundle.
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Third, Dedicate One-On-One Time Activities: This can be any activity you know your middle child loves. My middle child has been really enjoying reading super hero books, playing super heroes and I Spy. The I Spy books are super fun with a new baby because I can nurse the baby while playing I Spy with my middle child. This way he still feels important and connected to me while I am feeding the baby.
Fourth, Encourage Them To Do Big Things: I started potty training my second child soon after the third baby was born. This empowered him to be a big boy like his big brother. He learned pretty quick, and I taught him younger than my oldest because I was tired of diapers really. But, he gained a lot of self confidence realizing how big he was! Think of something like riding a bike, learning letters or numbers, putting shoes on…anything that gives them the feeling that they are accomplishing something great and growing big!
Fifth, Give Them A Chance To Be The Oldest: My middle child’s main playmate is his older brother. I didn’t want him to always be the under dog. Boys are competitive. I put my oldest in a Pre-K class, but I didn’t put my middle child in one. I wanted him to be home, and to have an opportunity to be the oldest. I want him to have the freedom to play without his older brother, and the opportunity to play with his little brother. You can do this by having your oldest child play separately from the smaller ones for a part of the day. It brings some relief to the middle child, and it allows the older child to flourish without the annoying little siblings
Lastly, it’s important to educate yourself on what it means to be the middle child, if you weren’t a middle child. I was the oldest, so I have no clue what it’s like to grow up with an older sibling. I found a lot of good information in this book on birth order for my own self understanding, as well as understanding my children and what they need!
Let me know if you have any other ideas and tips to give special attention to your middle child!