Coping with a newborn and very demanding 3 year old.(9 Posts)
My 3 year old is an amazing, spirited little girl with a bundle of energy but since my 2nd came along 3 weeks ago her behaviour has been going rapidly downhill.
She shouts everything, which wakes the baby up, she refuses to walk downstairs, get dressed brush her teeth, you name it. Today she found against her grandma so much when it came to brushing teeth that my mum has pulled a back muscle.
I feel like all I do is tell her off. I've talked calmly, explained the situation and everything but she just doesn't listen.
Please can someone offer me some words of wisdom!
Aw - sounds tough. I had a similar age gap, and although it was a while ago now, I remember how difficult it was. My elder DD 'regressed' quite a lot - wanted help and company all the time. And 'forgot' how to go to sleep without a prolonged fuss. She also liked a cup of milk when the baby was feeding, and we watched A LOT of television (not ideal, but a good way for everyone to cuddle together when baby feeding).
So not words of widsom, but of empathy perhaps? My only tip is to try to make sure you find some time for just your elder dd and you to be together regularly to do what she wants to do, if you can (and similarly with her dad) so she has some time and space which is just hers. Oh and play dates for her, if you can. I know it's easily said, but it really does get easier.
We have a similar age gap and issues. A particular problem was regressing with toilet training, she'd been dry for 6 months and then started having accidents.
What worked was a reward system, we had a jar and gave her a piece of pasta for every dry day. Once there were 10 pieces she got a special treat which was in the form of a "date" with mummy or daddy. Going out for an ice cream, going to the cinema.
We also indulged her with using a baby cup, having a dummy little things that meant a lot to her.
My best advice is to do whatever you can to get through the day with as little confrontation as poss. And also manage your own expectations of what your 3 year old is capable. My DD was not quite 2 when DS came along and the first 6-8 months were really hard because she was (understandably) cross that her little life had been turned upside down and I was sleep deprived and pretty irrational. Then someone said that any time I was about to tell her off for something I should stop and check whether I would have told her off for it before DS was born. Turns out I had fairly unrealistic expectations for her - but she seemed so big and grown up next to the baby that if lost
a lot of perspective. I know "ride-it-out" advice isn't very practical but basically that's all I've got! And to say: I've been there, I've done the shouting and it hasn't adversely affected DD at all (that I'm aware). And it passes.
We have the same age gap we did let her play at being a baby, but made it clear she was playing. We tried to treat the baby more like a pet than a person at first (likened his care to the cats) so she wasn't as jealous, and oddly letting her "help" take care of him helped!
Thank you all for your advice! I shall grin and bare it and try to count to 10 before telling my little one off. Deep breaths!!
I have the same age gap, the youngest is now 5 months. I feel your pain!
My oldest DD is spirited at the best of times. Throw in dropping a nap and a new sibling and it was crazy.
You sound like your doing your best. Try not to worry. I agree that managing my own expectations and anger really helped.
I hate the phase 'love bombing' but that worked too. Just randomly grabbing them and giving loads of kisses when they're playing nicely or doing anything that isn't naughty!
Also do whatever you can possibly do to recharge your own batteries. You'll both be happier that way.
I found the first 6 weeks really hard, but improvements gradually happened as the baby started spacing out feeds and life started (slowly) returning to normal.
We still have difficult days, but we seem to get through.
Congrats on your bundle.
I have a smaller age gap but I definitely relate to the demanding older sibling.
Things which worked for us (toddler DD and newborn DS):
- Endless cuddles
- Quality time after every bf (admittedly I was an accidental tandem feeder, but making sure that DD got at least as many cuddles as DS worked well)
- Cuddling, and stating what I thought were DD's feelings, e.g. "You sound upset/angry/etc". I wouldn't always get the feeling right first time, but it helped her to feel understood. Plus it would help me to understand her point of view, especially if I had got her feelings wrong.
- When DD was calm, getting her ideas for how to make the situation better next time. And then following through on these.
- Just after DS was born, friends referred to him as 'DD's baby', in front of DD. I thought that this was strange, but it turned out to be a fantastic idea, and we kept it up.
- Asking DD to help with DS (but not telling her to), especially things where she could choose, e.g. choose his clothes to wear. And not worrying if she didn't want to help.
- Having toys that she could play with, but didn't need to share
- Sticking to routine as far as possible.
- Picking one small thing at a time to improve, and giving DD lots of warning that in 5 days' time she will need to do X herself, then in 4 days' time, then in 3 etc.
- Loads of praise.
- Her own baby doll, pram and home-made sling.
We were lucky in that DD could sleep through DS's nightime wakings. Is your 3 year old managing to get enough sleep?
On the refusing to get dressed, brush teeth or come downstairs, is her room child-proof with a gate? If so, would you be able to pretend that it doesn't matter, tell her that in that case it's fine for her to stay upstairs, and to call you once she's dressed and done her teeth?
No advice, I'm due DD2 in 8 weeks and DD1 will be 2.9 and bricking it! DD1 is incredibly spirited
stubborn and I fear how she will cope with all the change and having to share mummy and daddy. There's some great tips here 😊
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