As our baby moves on to toddler and preschooler stage, he gains a stronger sense of independence and responsibility. This comes with him realizing that his mobility, agility, and strength have increased, along with his curiosity for the world around him. There is a greater desire in the child to explore as well as do things on his own. It is thus a good idea for us to engage our older child when it comes to caring for his younger sibling.
More often than not, you would still need to supervise the older child if you engage him for his assistance. I suppose if you were to carry out the task on your own, it would most likely be more efficient and less frustrating. Yet it's about taking various opportunities to empower your child. Just like how your muscles would grow in strength only if you train with incremental weights, your child will grow in his ability to cope with various tasks only if you expose him to the opportunities, with increasing difficulties. Many times we just want to check off our to-do list in the fastest manner possible and decide to just do everything on our own. In our haste, we miss precious chances for us to engage our child meaningfully and allow him to learn and grow.
It could be simple errands given in direct instructions like, "can you please pass me some wet wipes so I could change the baby's diaper?"
Or "Mummy, needs to use the washroom for a while, can you please keep your little sister occupied by playing with her?"
You will be surprised by how willing your older child is in providing you with assistance. It increases his sense of responsibility as the older sibling and he grows in confidence, knowing that you can trust him to care for his younger sibling. Do expect times when he might not perform up to your expectations because he still lacks certain skill or dexterity. But it is essential to keep encouraging him for displaying persistence and appreciating his willingness to help. If we diss the child for not doing something properly, we might hurt his feelings and discourage him from trying in the future.
Your child will grow in confidence and responsibility if you keep finding opportunities to nurture and empower him. Over time you will certainly see that your older child rising up to his new position as the older sibling, someone who cares for his sibling genuinely and also a great little helper to you.
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