Mothering Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,324 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Especially if there's a big age gap. Do you *expect* the older dc to help take care of the younger dc? Do you expect them to "play" with them?<br><br>
Ds1 is 6, and ds2 is 18mos. Thus far, we haven't expected much out of ds1, other than a quick "watch your brother while I do x real quick." In the beginning, I didn't want ds1 to resent ds2, so I didn't ask him for much. I'm not sure what is "fair" to ask of him. He doesn't have any chores, other than (sort of) picking up after himself.<br><br>
My biggest conflict is that ds2 LOVES to play with ds1. Ds1 likes to play with him, but not often. Poor ds2, if ds1 is playing in his room with the door shut, ds2 will lay on the floor outside and look through the crack under the door (it's hard to let ds2 in ds1's room- lots of choking hazards). He so wants to play with ds1, especially when he has friends over.<br>
On the one hand, I don't want to make ds1 play with ds2. OTOH, I hate seeing ds2 sad because he can't play with ds1!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,446 Posts
<p>My oldest is 7.  I do not expect him to babysit at any level.  That is too great a burden to put on a child so young.  The babies are my responsibility.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>What I do expect from my older children is that when they are with any children who are younger, they play kindly and nicely (being kind).  That they encourage the little ones to listen to me, and not encourage them to be silly or disobedient (being a good example).  That they do their age-appropriate chores as requested, with a good attitude.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Currently we have no babies of our own, but do live with my sister and her baby.  All three of my kids *beg* to help with the baby and are dying for another little sibling.  If we had another baby, with those big age gaps I would not require the older children to spend time playing with the little one, though I would strongly encourage it and provide opportunities for it to happen.  What I would probably do is have stuff appropriate for all ages in the main floor, and make sure the baby did have opportunities to interact with it's older brothers, but during the baby's naptime, or times when I can keep him happy, let the older boys know that that is the time for them to do their "big kid" playing without interruption.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,029 Posts
<p>Sometimes we ask DS (now 7) to watch DD (nearly 3) while we get dinner or do other chores. Nearly always, DS's choice is to either help us with chores or help us by playing with DD. So, it's just one way in which he might be helpful and part of the family. When he was younger (maybe 5?) we had an incident where he was supposed to be watching her and he wasn't paying attention and she got hold of a small thing-a-ma-bob and started eating it. Oy. We had a long break from DS watching DD at that point.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>For us, though, DS mostly loves to watch DD. It's better than loading/unloading the dishwasher, etc!</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,599 Posts
<p>It depends on the age gap. DS1 is sometimes expected to babysit (he gets paid for some things, and not for others) all three, but there's a <em>big</em> gap there!</p>
<p> </p>
<p>DD1 is on duty as "lookout" sometimes - just keeping an eye on dd2 for a second while I run laundry upstairs or go pee or something. She also, of her own accord, runs to check on dd2 if she hears her crying or something. With respect to ds2, she's not really expected to do much, but they do play together a lot.</p>
<p><br>
I don't expect anything from ds2 where dd2 is concerned. He's just not got enough impulse control to watch her, even briefly. However, he adores her and does play with her a lot. I've never really expected it, but I do encourage it, and give them all lots of opportunities to play together. They all get along pretty well.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,706 Posts
<p>Currently I expect DD not to jump on the baby (it's 15 weeks old, but that's gestation age!). So far she's mostly a solicitous sibling - I was absent-mindedly slapping my baby bump the other day, and she said reproachfully "Mummy, don't smack a baby inna tummy!". :p</p>
<p> </p>
<p>When the baby's born, though: yes, I will expect DD's help and cooperation from the get-go. I don't really understand this attitude that parents are the ones who decide to have the babies, so it's unfair to burden siblings with helping out with them. To me it's just part of being a family. I do think you can go too far - the Duggar "buddy system", for instance - and I did have a friend growing up who was the oldest of nine and resented how much she had to help out. (Mind you, she resented life in general...) I think cultivating an attitude of service in kids is a <em>good</em> thing; likewise teaching them that we work as a team, help each other out and contribute according to our abilities.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>She'll be three and a third when the baby's born, so I don't imagine her duties will be too onerous - but I'll get her to fetch me nappies and choose the baby's clothes and things.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
408 Posts
<p>It really depends on the age of the sibling.  For instance 13 yr. old ds is expected to help out, make lunch for the younger ones if I'm busy, watch them when needed, and teach them certain chores.  If we are out shopping, he is expected to choose one of the younger two (7 and 4) and hold their hand when walking around.  Alot of times he will choose to take the 4 yr. old when he wants to find something in the store.  He is also expected to take 4 yr. old ds to the bathroom so that they can go into the men's room.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>The 9 yr. old is expected to watch the 4 yr. old when I shower, make sandwiches for his siblings (including the older one) when it is his turn, and he is required to hold a child's hand (either the 7 or 4 yr old's) when we are crossing the street.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>So they have different responsibilities according to their age.  The 7 yr. old is expected not to hurt her baby brother, help him with his chores etc.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I do NOT demand that they play with each other.  I actually think it's good for the younger ones to see that they need to respect the older one's privacy and alone time.  Usually, when they are watching the younger one, they play with them and I feel that is enough "forced" play time.  Other than that, the youngers need to respect the olders as they would like to be respected.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I don't have the feeling that asking them to help care for their siblings is wrong.  I feel that being in a family comes with responsibilities, one of those in a larger family is to help with the youngers, help fix meals, help clean the house, and generally help when needed.  Everyone in our home has their own responsibilities.  Funny thing is, the olders don't complain about helping with the youngers.  They complain about taking out the trash, washing the dishes (especially the nasty pots), and the fact that they can't go outside until homework is done, but I've yet to have one complain about helping with the youngers. </p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,027 Posts
<p>I am the eldest of 4 girls.  The youngest two are 8 and 9 years younger.  I really don't remember my mom asking me to do much in terms of watching them,  but she did include me in their care from the start.  From there I took a HUGE interest in helping out. I WANTED to babysit, change diapers, take them to the park etc.  When I was 18 I even volunteered to go on field trips with them etc.  </p>
<p> </p>
<p>My sister who is 2 years younger felt really put out about the younger two.  She did play with them but mostly she found them irritating.  If my mom did ask her to do anything to help out with them my sister made a big stink.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I guess my point is the approach my mom took worked for one but not the other.  I think maybe the age difference played in. I think at 8-9 years old I was really at the age of wanting to help out and be grown up.  Whereas at 6-7 my sister wasn't quite ready to grow up and felt pushed out of her spot as youngest.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I now have a 3.5 year old and a 6 month old.  I do ask my older DD to help on a daily basis but if she says no I just let it go.  She really seems to enjoy helping.  I get her to get me diapers, wipes, put diapers away, "make Maisie happy", while I am cooking etc.  I also spend time everyday playing with both of the or snuggling both of them at the same time - to try to help with their bonding.  I think by playing with them together it helps show DD1 that she can have fun playing with DD2.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,082 Posts
<p>This is an interesting thread for me.  A few weeks ago my oldest ds (he's 8) offered to read to my 2-1/2 year old twins and put them down for a nap.  And he actually accomplished it.  They lay down and read and he snuggled with them until they were asleep.  So cute but as I puttered in kitchen I was wondering if I was expecting too much.  But really, it was his idea and he wanted to do it.  He's done it a few times since and feels a huge sense of accomplishment.  Dd1 who is 5-1/2 also watches the younger ones a lot.  She LOVES playing with them so they are together a lot of the day.  Once again, it's not really that I expect her to do it as part of a "job" but that she enjoys it and it works out.  All I ask of the older two is that they help out in the house as much as I think an 8 year old and 5 year old can. </p>
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top