October 22, 2018
One thing I was really nervous about when having Mia was that Ava would feel less loved and ignored.
It’s very common for the oldest to feel lost after a new baby arrives, because the newest child needs so much attention.
When Mia first arrived, Ava told me she missed me, but to be fair, I had been in and out of the hospital from week 27 to week 37 of my pregnancy, so I was gone more than I was present for Ava.
Sadly, having a second child does take attention away from the first, but it’s not all bad. It teaches them from an early age that time must be shared and that there are other important people in life.
It’s not that I don’t want my girls to think they are the most important people to me, but I don’t want them to feel the world revolves around just them. That’s the difference.
So, once Mia arrived and I started recouping from my c-section, I set out to make Ava feel special. I knew my time would be limited once Mia was born, so I worked with her on getting a good sleep schedule going so Ava and I could have some special time together during the day.
Here are 5 unique ways I spent quality time with my first born:
Tip 1: Go on a Mommy-and-Me Date
Whether you take her out for ice cream, or get your nails done together, take your daughter out of the house, just you and her, to enjoy some quality one-on-one time.
Ava loves this, and I even let her choose where to go (sometimes)! She gets SO excited and it gets us out of the house without spending a ton of money. On our first Mommy-and-Me Date, we went to the pet store and then walked over to get some frozen yogurt. It was the most simple but perfect date with my sweet girl.
Tip 2: Arts and Crafts or Playing Pretend
Whether they like to paint, create things out of Play-doh, or just draw, get hands-on with your first born and show some creativity.
Doing arts and crafts stimulates sensory learning and fires up the imagination. Make sure you turn the TV off and put away your phone while doing this to give her 100% of your attention.
When she’s drawing, I talk to Ava about what she’s drawing. She enjoys explaining things to me, and I enjoy watching her imagination grow.
Don’t feel like making a mess? You can always play pretend. Whether they are a princess or a knight in shining armor, show them that using their imagination is a fun and creative way to play. Let them dress up, or even just pretending to wear a costume ensures a great time together!
Tip 3: Stay Up a Little Later
One of the benefits of being the first born is being able to stay up just a little later than your siblings. :p
Some days, if Ava has a good nap during the day and Matt is working that night, I will invite her to crawl into my bed, snuggle up, and watch a movie of her choice. Not too late, but a little longer after sister goes to bed. It’s something we enjoy, doesn’t take a lot of energy, but is nice, quiet bonding time.
Don’t want your child watching TV before bed? Then I recommend each choosing some of your favorite books! If you have an independent child, like I do, then let him or her read to you!
Tip 4: Bake Together
One of the things I really enjoy is choosing something to either cook and bake and teach my child how to create something delicious! Whether that’s making her a grilled cheese for lunch, or baking a family cookie recipe, or even letting her pick out a recipe for us both to test out together, it’s all fun.
Baking is a great way to teach your child measuring and counting, and the important lesson of patience while those cookies bake. After you finish baking, sit down with a glass of milk and enjoy the final product together!
Fresh out of ingredients in the pantry? Play pretend baking! My daughter got a kitchen from Santa last Christmas, so we like to pretend to bake cakes and make each other coffee. Yum!
Tip 5: Get Outdoors and Explore
There is NO better way to get your kid to burn some energy and soak in some Vitamin D than taking them outside. You can either play tag or walk around your yard exploring the plants, trees, and listening to the birds. Outside play is a great opportunity to teach them about colors and textures, so get creative with it, even without the toys!
Whatever activity you choose to do with them, they will enjoy, because they are spending quality time with you.
We live a few blocks away from an elementary school, so sometimes, I take her over there and slide down the slide and swing on the swings.
A little too cold or snowy to go outside? Then build a fort in the living room and pretend you’re outside camping!
When you engage with your first born in any capacity, you are making them feel special, wanted, and encouraged.
Having another child can be tough, but these simple ideas can help your first born adjust to the changes of a new baby and make the transition enjoyable for them.
The BEST advice with any of these tips: Put your phone down and really engage with your child.
Be present for them. It’s so difficult (and I struggle with this) putting my phone down and being present in the moment, but our kids need that. They need our love and attention and the quality time we spend with them. Put the phone up for 20 to 30 minutes. Your messages can wait, and the quality time with your little one is precious.
Are your children a little older than mine? You can apply these tips to your other children as well; they need mom’s quality time too!
Devote a little time to each of them, however you can schedule it. Whether it’s getting out of the house with one child, or your husband taking one of the other children on a Daddy Date, make an effort to pencil in some individual time with each child.
When Mia is older, I will be doing these things with her, too!
Did you try one of these tips with your child? Let us know how it went by clicking on the Contact form and sending us a message!