My 3-year-old has been high needs since birth, needing so much of our attention. Now we have a less high needs 6 mo baby, (both boys) but the older one still seems to need every second of our attention. I've been trying to be sensitive and not create rivalry/animosity, so instead I feel pretty overwhelmed trying to be with both of them every second. He doesn't seem to get, "go play." He just waits for me. THe younger one, while not high-needs, has breastfeeding issues, as did the first, so I'm already overwhelmed by rarely being able to put him down. Any suggestions?
High Needs Preschooler
unfortunately 3 year olds are not ready for 'go play'. esp. a HNs one.
if you can afford it perhaps a ps would be a great break for the two of you. if that is a possibility. if you are not already doing that.
if he is willing to go to a preschool everyday for a couple of hours or more - might be a great break for you.
of getting a mother's helper. you know a highschool or even middle school girl who comes over to play. or even just a neighbor kid from next door with ur oldest.
but being the mother of a HNs child myself i can tell you unfortunately sometimes there is no answer.
however you can try many things coz you cant predict when something just clicks.
I think one of the issues right now is that my dad was here for the Easter weekend, so he got used to having someone play with him all the time. I'm also trying to cut out tv, because we've been watching way too much lately, so he's used to being entertained. It can be overwhelming.
I'm pretty sure we have publicly funded preschools here, but I don't want to send him to school. We're planning on homeschooling. We're also out in the country, so there aren't too many kids around, and we don't have spare money to spend on someone to play with him. I'm fine with playing with him some of the time, I just can't do it all the time. As his brother gets older, I'm sure they'll play together, it's just so hard right now, and I feel so bad for not playing with him. The baby needs to be nursed like a newborn to gain weight properly, and will not nap on his own, just like my first, so naps are kind of down time for the two of us.
My husband's home during the day, but in the evenings, it's just me, and I have to get dinner going and do the bedtime routine, but there's some time before dinner when he just wants attention.
We don't do TV and I have a high needs LO, so I can completely understand the dilemma. What about finding a craft that he can complete by himself (maybe allow him to glue a variety of items like fabric leftovers, buttons, etc.) or a "messy" activity such as "painting" the shower walls with shaving cream? Sometimes it is easier to have a small (or big...lol) mess to clean up afterward to get that 15 or 20 minutes needed. I don't have 2, but I am a single, working, schooling mom and sometimes other things just have to be done. At that age, I started insisting on completing an activity before assisting as he was requesting. "I am sorry, but Mommy really needs to do XYZ. I can help you in 5 minutes (or 10 or whatever)." Sometimes he balked, sometimes he accepted, but eventually he realized that if he could be patient and allow me to complete my activity, I would follow through and do what I said. I think being firm and consistent helped us the most.
Another thing I just thought of is to put him in the position to "help"...sometimes it could be productive like helping to sort the silverware, or non-productive, like helping to "sweep" the floor (in my experience, this just means that he makes a bigger mess...lol)... Other things could be helping you to pick out the baby's clothes for the day or asking which diaper you should put on him next, making him feel involved with the day-to-day activities surrounding his sibling, rather than being in competition. "Before I help you with that, can you help me decide what the best diaper to put on the baby would be?" rather than, "I can't help you right now because I have to change the baby's diaper".
Thanks for the suggestions about things to do. We do some of them, but often he just wants to be right with me, and I just need some space. I try so hard to meet his needs while meeting my own. One of the issues is the napping thing. Since the baby naps on me, I sit and relax, usually watching tv, which is counterproductive maybe, but it's so hard to get DS1 to be quiet and not ask questions the whole time, when I'm just trying to let the little guy sleep. He tries to be quiet, but he just doesn't quite get it, I feel bad, but the baby wakes up fairly often, then he's cranky because he's tired.
Thanks for the suggestions about how to phrase things, as well. The big one is the nap. I've asked him to help me be quiet for the baby, but it doesn't always help. He can't stop himself from talking! LOL It's just so hard to still meet his needs and still meet the baby's needs and mine.
What do you do if you've said you can help in such-and-such an amount of time, but he keeps asking? My guy just keeps asking, most of the time.