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  1. #1

    what to do to my 5 year old baby girl

    I have a 5 year old girl as my eldest. I just gave birth last June. Since the baby is already around and present to our family, my 5 year old started to act like him, like a baby. What should I explain to her?

  2. #2
    It's not uncommon for older children to regress when a new baby joins the family. Some children who have recently potty trained actually regress back into diapers for a time.

    Being that your daughter is 5 years old, the first thing that comes to mind is that your daughter may be feeling like she has to share your attention with the new baby. She has been used to being the "baby" for 5 years, and having all your attention.

    Sometimes, when children are feeling this way, they will start to act like the baby, thinking "baby's getting mommy and daddy's attention, so if I act like the baby I'll get more attention too". It's not a conscious thought at 5 years of age, but can definitely be a subconscious thought as she tries to figure out her new role in your family.

    If you can give some examples of how she is acting like the baby I'll be able to give more specific ideas on how to handle it, but in general, I would encourage her to take on her "big sister" role. Ask her to swing the baby, or sing to the baby while baby is going to sleep. Ask her to bring you diapers and clothes. Ask her if she would like to hold her baby brother while he is sleeping, or if she would like to play with the baby, and show her how to sit next to baby and show him pictures in a picture book. He may not understand what she is saying, but she will feel as if she is teaching her baby brother something new. 5 year olds usually love to play "school" like they are the teacher, they also like to play house, like they are the mommy, and if she feels that she can care for him in some ways, like mommy does, this will help her to feel valuable.

    And of course, praising her often for her help with the baby is important and taking time to do things with her, when baby is not needing you. Bake cookies together, go for a walk with baby in the stroller and talk to her (have a conversation). She is used to having all of your attention and she now has to share it, so it's important that you recognize how much less time you are spending with her and try to make up for it in some way. Baby will most likely be around most of the time, but it's not so much spending "alone" time with your daughter as it is spending focused time with her - being attentive to her questions and teaching her new things… doing things together.

    Please let me know your thoughts.

    Warm regards,

    Kate

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