If your children are close in age then most likely you’ve dealt or are currently dealing with toddler jealousy.
As a #PlaytexMom, I know that I’m not alone in this struggle. There are tons of mothers in my situations who have had to help their toddler adjust to their new baby brother or sister.
Phrases like “Can you please share?” or “he doesn’t know, he’s a baby.” have frequently been said.
Photo Credit: Julie Christine Photography
A little background on our age gaps
When I first found out I was pregnant, Abel was a couple months away from turning two years old. Which meant that when Isaiah would be born, Abel would have hit two and half years of age.
To give you some sort of timeframe.
That is five years younger than Jayden was when he became an older brother to Abel at seven and a half years old.
Which makes Jayden 10 years older than Isaiah. And Abel two and half years older.
Obviously, after Abel was born, we dealt with a different kind of jealousy with Jayden. Thankfully, after Isaiah’s arrival, he was excited and was not at all envious of his new baby brother.
However, with Abel, he had just hit the age that I would consider the “yellow light” of big kid status.
What does that mean?
Well, with after much reading, I found that kids under the age of 24 months have the hardest time adjusting to their new sibling. (RED)
Children aged 2-4 have a tough time transitioning out of baby status and into big kid status after a new baby. (YELLOW)
And children aged 5 and up, have a better understanding and are pretty levelheaded about the whole thing. (GREEN)
Here’s How We Deal With Toddler Jealousy
Once I started understanding what was going on in Abel’s head, I stopped forcing him to be “big kid” and started encouraging him to be a “big brother”. Heres how:
Same Item Different Colour
This basically means that when I purchase something like mealtime sets, I’ll grab two. One in blue and one in green. Blue is for Abel and Green for Isaiah.
Similar Item Same Colour
Since Isaiah has started eating solids, he uses a blue spoon but not the exact same one as Abel. The items are for the same purpose (to eat). However, Abel understands that his blue spoon is for “big boys” and Isaiah’s blue spoon is for “babies”.
The Playtex® Infant Spoons are specifically designed with a flat and flexible tip. This helps with cleaning off Isaiah’s face as he eats and spoons bowls deep enough to hold food. Yet shallow enough for him to eat the entire spoonful!
We use ours all the time and I do prefer it over any other infant spoons.
Another great product from Playtex Baby is the Playtex® Sipsters® Stage 1 Cups. They come in a variety of different colours! I love how they also play into the “similar item same colour” technique of reducing toddler jealousy.
Encouragement & Acknowledgement
You cannot go wrong with words of affirmation when it comes to a whiny and clinging toddler. Giving words to their feelings and repeating it to them, helps them understand what emotions they are feeling.
I found that an hour of independent play really made a difference in Abel’s attitude towards Isaiah. It gives him alone time to imagine and get creative with no little brother interrupting him.
Letting him help
Allowing Abel to help with Isaiah has been a great way for him to learn and practice at his new big brother role.
Sharing is caring, right? Well, not so much when it comes to siblings so close in age. “Taking Turns” with simple things like sitting on mommy’s lap and dancing with mommy can help any child slowly adjust to their new sibling.
One on One Time
This is probably the biggest one. Spending quality time with him has been extremely helpful. Sitting down on the floor together, colouring together or even laying down with him before bed reinforces our relationship.
We are still in the midst of the toddler jealousy phase but I definitely see improvements in Abels ability to vocalize what he’s feeling and why he’s acting out.
I hope this post gives you a better idea of sibling age gaps and how to deal with them!