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Rather suddenly, Sweet Pea was thrown into the position of “Middle Child” in our family. With an older sister that naturally just demands attention and then a baby brother that required so much of my attention during his first year, I have definitely seen some of the signs and symptoms of Middle Child Syndrome in Sweet Pea.
It is very easy to “overlook” a naturally reserved, quiet middle child when you have two others demanding your attention. Here are some things we are consciously doing to make sure Sweet Pea does not feel overlooked in our circus:
1. One on One Time – Sweet Pea needs one-on-one time with her parents. Time when she has our undivided attention. This is the main reason I do preschool first with Sweet Pea before doing school with Little Bug. That is Sweet Pea’s time. I will also sneak other times throughout the day where my focus is just on Sweet Pea. We may read a book together or play a game, both of which Sweet Pea really loves to do!
2. Special Outings – Dave takes Sweet Pea on errands sometimes to be able to have some special on-on-one time with her. I think it’s a wise idea to schedule special outings for all children with each parent every month or so. This is something I would like to eventually implement in our family.
3. Positive Reinforcement – Middle children tend to act out negatively (to get attention they feel they are lacking), so anytime I catch Sweet Pea doing something noteworthy, I make a big deal over it! She has a natural desire to be a helper so it is easy to find things to compliment her on. Her daily chore is to put Sarge’s milk cups together for me. She does an excellent job and I make sure to praise her every day for a job well done.
4. Be sensitive to needs – Sometimes, in the chaos, I just need to STOP and ask myself, “What does Sweet Pea need right now?” and that can help to calm the chaos of everyone around. She might simply be needing her water cup refilled and if I take 2 seconds to open her water, she can go to fridge to refill her cup and that is one less person needing something at the same time from me!
It’s important to make all our children feel special, but in this season, I think our middle child needs this assurance more than the others. How does your family deal with Middle Child Syndrome?
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