When a new sibling joins the family, parents are on high alert to make sure everyone adjusts as well as possible. I remember navigating that rocky road twice and it wasn't easy on us or the older sibling(s) welcoming a new family member. But eventually the kids got used to their new sibling and our family couldn't remember life before the newest member had arrived. Like so often in this parenting gig, the second you're comfortable, everything changes.
Our three kids all get along, share a room, and are basically great friends. It's so sweet now that Chloe is old enough to join in the fun. But in just a couple months, Lily will be starting kindergarten and gone five days a week from 8-3. To help her be more prepared for full days at school (completely in French!), we've upped her days at preschool to 3x per week. One of the days she is at school with Oli, but now it's two days a week that she's off at school and the younger two are home together. And I'm already seeing the shift. Instead of the older two being inseparable, it's often the younger two.
It's a great joy as a parent seeing your kids get along. It's not every waking moment, but it's more often than not. My question is, how do you avoid the siblings leaving another out? Our family dynamic is ripe for someone feeling left out. Maybe the older two (only 15 months apart) pair off, leaving out the "baby". Maybe the younger two pair off since the oldest is off at school (and Lily and Oli are a full two grades apart so it'll be two years before he joins her at school). Maybe the girls pair off leaving out the lone boy. See what I'm saying?
I've always wanted four kids to avoid the third wheel dynamic, that many of my friends who came from families of three experienced. Even numbers seems easiest to include everyone, but what about when you are a family with three kids? How can we work to avoid someone feeling left out?
Here are a couple things I think help our case:
1. Our kids are a peer group (meaning they're all very close in age), so birth order isn't as emphasized.
2. All of the kids share a room and we live in a small space, so they're really always together, the three of them.
3. We haven't emphasized big gender distinctions with play or hobbies, so the girl's aren't off doing one "girl's" activity, leaving out their brother. They all play dolls, they all play trains, they all play super heroes, etc.
But some sibling bonding is natural, and I'm sure it's natural for kids to bond with one sibling in a stronger way than their other(s). I just have no experience with this, having just one sibling. And I'd definitely be more comfortable with the kids having one sibling they were closer with if we had even numbers, or more than three kids.
Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts. //
Were you/ Are you closer to one sibling over another? Was/is this negative?
How did your parent's include all of the siblings?
Do you see this pattern in your own kids?
What are you trying to keep the kids all close and not leaving out a sibling?