Helping our 4 year old adjust to a new baby – I wrote about how Monkey was fairing with having a little brother in his life when Kipper was four weeks old here. So how are we getting on? Well its a little up and down if I am honest. I am guessing this is to be expected, the initial novelty of having a baby in the house has worn off.  And the realisation of having a sibling is well and truly hit. We have just had the first ‘can we just get another baby and give Kipper away…‘ I had to laugh as it came in the same conversation as wanting a little sister. Four year olds? Who understands their logic?


The whole love thing (where he perceives we love Kipper more than him) is still bit of an issue, it comes and goes and he needs constant reassurance that he has not been replaced. On a positive note he has seemingly got over the issues surrounding the sleeping arrangements. I think the fact that we are going on holiday and all sleeping in the same room has helped this, as he realises that we are not excluding him on purpose. The bedtime routine is still hard work but I think thats more because he is four years old than because of Kipper. We have got round this to date by saying that we will come up and check on him every five minutes or so. Inevitably he has fallen to sleep by the second check.

We still haven’t experienced any regression, in fact Monkey seems to revel in the fact that he can do things that Kipper can’t such as eating at the table and playing. Although he needs the routine of nursery I have been trying to give him opportunity of doing big boy activities so we have had a couple of days off that focus all around him. The sling has been invaluable and made the day trips a lot easier.

Hubby and I have also got more use to man marking, although Hubby tends to spend more time with Monkey doing the day to day things. I always try to spend some time alone with him each day. Even if that means adjusting Kipper’s feeding schedule so that I can spend an hour or so with him when he gets home from nursery. I know this is important to him as he as coined the phase alone time, this is isn’t something I have ever referred to. I have also noticed that nursery drop off has suddenly become a lot easier since I have started setting out invitations to play again which I know he loves, although none of them have made it onto the blog and probably won’t! One step at a time.


Unfortunately its not all been good news we have entered the over zealous cuddles and ‘patting’ stage. If there is such a stage. I have noticed it gets worse if he feels as though he hasn’t had enough attention. Which then puts you as a parent in a difficult situation as you don’t want to encourage the attention seeking behaviour but at the same time I don’t want him then taking it out on Kipper and getting attention that way.

Don’t get me wrong he’s not been that bad.  I’ve heard horror stories about the older sibling bending back the babies fingers. And I wasn’t exactly an angel.  I use to sit on my baby brother (delightful child). Which progressed to me feeding him woodlice once he could sit up by himself. He tends to slap under the guise of patting.  It seems to be amplified if we are with close family members that are focusing on Kipper for whatever reason. Which leads me to analyse it as jealously.  I want to nip in the bud now to avoid sibling rivalry at a later date.

Everything I have read talks about building a very secure relationship with each child. Which is in turn more likely to foster a secure relationship between them. Which I guess means continue what we are doing! I have brought a story book about jealously called I’m important too! by Jen Green. Monkey was a bit apprehensive at first but he keeps asking for it so I am taking that as a good sign.

I thought we had nipped the attention seeking in the bud too, but he has a new way of getting our attention which has come about in the last couple of days. ‘I need the toilet…‘ It was inevitable really the one thing that you can’t really ignore. So we have been going to the loo every half an hour or so when we are out, be that dinner or as in last night the cinema. Its a tough one and I’ve come to the conclusion we need to ride the storm with this one. As its a relatively new development I am hoping it will disappear as quickly as it arrived.

Helping our 4 year old adjust to a new baby

So what are our plans for the coming weeks?

  • First of all the harsh one – disciple the over zealous behaviour. I have seen instances where an excuse is made. Such as ‘they are going through a lot’.  Believe me I’ve already heard this in relation to Monkey.  Yes he is. Yes I need to cut him some slack but not when it comes to this point.  As I have seen it lead to more and more aggressive behaviour. If he wants attention then he can have in the form of a time out. Hopefully if we keep up with the good attention. Such as invitations to play, more stories and doing things solely for him. He will quickly realise that sort of attention is far better. If he doesn’t then I guess I had better invest in a longer egg timer!
  • More invitations to play – pinterest will need to become my good friend again! Scheduling of alone time and referring to it as that. Nothing is more powerful than referring to something important to them using their own language. I am hoping that in time this will progress to mummy and son date afternoons. But since Kipper is three months old and I am breast feeding that may take a little longer.  We are going on holiday soon so I am hoping to grab an hour here and there with him to reconnect.
  • Set up play time with the two of them together. This will be more tricky due to trying to match schedules. And also trying to find something which will hold both Monkey’s and Kipper’s attention. I recently visited a sensory room with Kipper. So I think we are going to start there and see how it goes.
  • Carry on with the reassurance and focus on him. He will work through his feelings with a little bit of help from us, the issues are only temporary. Something we need to keep reminding ourselves.
  • Start thinking about how we can encourage that sibling bond going forwards

So there we have it, bringing  a new baby into a family will never been completely smooth sailing. Unless you are extremely lucky. There will be ups and downs. For those of you that will be doing just this in the next few months. Don’t stress children are robust as long as they know you love them. For those of you that have already done this. Any suggestions on things we can do in addition to the above. Will be gratefully received in the comments below.


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Helping our 4 year old adjust to a new baby

Helping our 4 year old adjust to a new baby


  1. It’s a really difficult period of family life because everyone is adjusting. I think dedicated one-on-one time is essential.

    My eldest adapted really well initially but after about 6 months, seemed to be really struggling. We invented ‘Jenny-Daddy Time’. It was a special 30min at the end of the day when Jenny had the complete, undivided attention of her Daddy to play whatever she wanted. We did it that way around so that I could give baby her bedtime feed (I was BF) and Jenny felt like she was staying up late because she was the big sister. It worked wonders! We still do it now, 2 years on (although now mummy and daddy can take it turns). #DreamTeam

    • That’s a brilliant idea! Thank you we may implement something similar. Especially with school coming up we need to tighten up on the whole bedtime routine as Kipper trends to feed at Monkeys bedtime. Thanks so much! Xx

  2. It sounds like you are doing a fantastic job Clare and have everything under control (or aware of everything). I think Monkey and Kipper are going to be firm friends! Seems you have a plan, enjoy your holiday all together xx #TwinklyTuesday #DreamTeam

    • Aww thanks lovely in sure we all will although I expect Hubby will be at the bar by 11am each morning ?. Thanks for stopping by xx

  3. alisonlonghurst Reply

    Wow! You are really analysing it, which I’m sure is good, but I really wouldn’t get too hooked up on things. Everything will settle down, especially with you being so on top of it all and the more relaxed you are about the new set up, the more relaxed the boys will be. Have a fabulous holiday 🙂 Alison x #DreamTeam

    • Haha yes I’m probably over analysing it!! Thanks I’m sure we will, hopefully it will give us some much needed quality time as a four! Thanks for stopping by xx

  4. thefrenchiemummy Reply

    Having a second baby involves so much! I know it’s a normal process for your eldest one. They both look so cute together in your pictures! I really love the last one. It’s so funny the face the baby has like he is saying ‘What are you doing?!’ It’s so great that they are close in age. Good luck with the rest of this phase. It looks like you know what you are doing and you have a plan for sure! #BloggerClubUK love.

  5. I had mine so close together that I don’t think any of them had time to get jealous of the new one. The best memory I have is when I brought home my second and the first was so excited…until the second started whaling and it scared the first and then they both started whaling. I of course was just laughing. Now the two of them can’t be separated…you’d think they were twins and I often get asked that. Thanks for hostessing #bloggerclubuk!

    • Lol that did make me giggle as its something I can imagining happening her! Great that they are now so close. Thank you for joining us and for stopping by xx

  6. We experienced very similar issues to you. Our eldest is 2 and half and had only just turned 2 when our youngest was born. He had little wobbles that he couldn’t really make sense of and just needed reassurance from time to time. Lovely family photos too.
    Potty Adventures

    • I think that’s it isn’t it, some reassurance. I’m sure the love thing still worries him so when I came across a small silver heart with love written on it I brought it and gave it to him, and said that whenever he doubts how much I love him and I’m not with him to look at his heart and remember. Hopefully that may help! Thanks for stopping by X

  7. Really interesting to read this. I’ve got my second baby arriving in October and I’m so nervous thinking about how Leo is going to react. He is so used to having all of my attention all of the time, and he’s not very well behaved around babies :/. Hopefully he will take well to being a bug brother. I hope you manage to keep strengthening the bond between your boys and helping Monkey overcome his worries and jealousy xx #BloggerClubUK

    • Oh good luck with it I’m sure it will go wonderfully, congratulations! I hope so one step at a time!! Thank you for stopping by xx

  8. Some really lovely pictures here! Best of luck dealing with the 2, apparently I used to throw Duplo at my little brother when he was a few weeks old. ‘Mummy, Matthew wants to play with it…THWACK!!’ But we’re really close now so no harm done (to me at least!!!) #BloggerClubUK

    • Haha that’s kind of reminiscent of what we are seeing!! Glad he didn’t hold it against you, thank you for stopping by x

  9. Oh bless!! They will grow up to be the bestest of friends.I’ve heard the first year is always a little bit of a challenge for the older sibling. i can’t even imagine how challenging/tiring it must be for the parents! Kipper is adorable! It’s so great to see you actively thinknig about ways to tackle it – I’d imagine myself to be too tired to deal with it! 😐 #BloggerClubUK

    • Haha I am a lot of the time!! Just trying to take it one step at a time. Hope everything is ok with you, thanks for stopping by xx

  10. Congratulations on your new addition! Mine is almost 6 months. I had quite a few troubles with the attention thing from my 2 year old who needed the toilet a lot when a feed had just commenced. I seemed to have sorted it by telling her to go by herself “like a really big girl” and then ring a little bell i put by the potty when she needs me to help her. That prevents any accidents but also means I have a few more minutes to let baby feed/gently de latch them!! I also talk lots about how baby loves the toddler; like “ooh she’s smiling at you/she thinks you’re funny” which has really helped the toddler grow fond of baby; after all the number one thing the older one wants is attention, and if its from their sibling even better! #BloggerClubUK

    • That’s such a great idea I need to increase the amount of interaction between the boys. Thank you so much for stopping by xx

  11. Alana - Burnished Chaos Reply

    First off, the pictures of the two of them together are just adorable!
    My son was 5 when his little sister came along and initially he was great but as time went on you could sense he was feeling pushed out. We tried to get him involved in everything and he loved being able to help take care of her, we also set aside the time after she went to bed (although she didn’t really start a proper bedtime till 6 months) as special time to really focus on him; snuggling up under a blanket and reading stories or telling each other about our day. Two years on they have a great relationship but there are still times when I can see him feeling pushed out (such as her birthday on Monday!) and he will act out. The trick is noticing the feelings building up and acting (giving him some positive attention) before he does something that he will need telling off for and to try to find little things throughout the day that you can praise him for. It’s really hard to do though when you are coping with a newborn and none of us are perfect. Another thing that helped my son when he felt we loved his sister more than him was to tell him that he was our first born and that was super special and no-one could ever change that. To be honest, it sounds like you are doing an absolutely great job, as long as you spend a little time with him before he goes to bed to have a cuddle and tell him how much you love him everything will be fine.

    • Oh I love that – you are my first born and no one can take that away! Love it will be trying that tomorrow. Yes you are completely right. I also brought a tiny little silver love heart with love written on it and gave it to him. And told him if he ever feels like I don’t love him then he can look at the heart and realise how much I do love him if I am not close enough to be able to tell him. Hoping that will help. Thank you for the advice and for stopping by xx

  12. reimerandruby Reply

    I remember when my youngest one was still a baby, my eldest got frustrated as she can’t play, talk or walk yet apart from constantly sleeping. But as she’s growing, he’s learned to bond with her more as he’s helping me look after her kind of thing. Now, they’re best friends although they fight, argue or annoy each other sometimes. Don’t worry, everything will be fine! By the way, your pictures look adorable! #BloggerClubUK

    • Aww thank you! That’s good to know, I do think I need to try and increase the interaction between them as Kipper gets older. Thanks so much for stopping by xx

  13. Oh it all sounds so familiar. We to had an over zealous hugger a couple of ‘love’ bites when the new baby brother was brought home. You seem to be doing fantastically. Well done! #fortheloveofBLOG

  14. awwww – this is such a lovely post and so honest. I never even thought about the implications of baby sleeping in my room and how it would impact our first born. we aren’t having a second just yet but id like it to be on the cards! your photos are completely adorable and are making me broody haha! Enjoy your holiday x #BloggerClubUK

  15. 12 weeks in, it sounds like things are going well! It’s such a huge adjustment for the older child when a new baby comes along, even now, 2 years later I think we’re still learning how to balance making time for everyone! x #BloggerClubUK

    • That’s good to know, I think I was initially thinking it would be something quite quick to adjust to but now I’m realising it will take quite a bit longer than I thought! Thank you for stopping by X

  16. It sounds like overall Monkey is handling it well. I can’t imagine what it must feel like in their little heads when big things like this change. I don’t know if it’s much use but all of my friends kids are 4/5 years older than L and one of the activities we used to do that worked for both of them was making sensory books. The older ones would go through my craft stash and glue feathers, sequins, beads, card etc into one of those thick paged scrap books and then L could enjoy all the textures (after it had dried and I’d vetted it and removed anything loose of choking size) not quite them together but something from one to the other. #BloggerClubUK

    • Oh I love love love this!! I will definitely be doing this with Monkey at somepoint soon. I am sure he would like to make something for Kipper. Thank you so much! And thanks for stopping by xx

  17. This is almost exactly what we’re going through at the moment. My daughter (almost 4) who has always been so good is definitely playing up more in I think must be attention-seeking. It’s a difficult time and her ‘regression’ is talking in a baby voice sometimes. Drives me mad! Alone time sounds good. I feel like I do a fair bit with the eldest as baby is asleep a lot and most things we do revolve around her…so don’t know what her issue is!! #bloggerclubuk

    • Oh no! I share your frustration!! I think that would probably drive me a little mad too. Thank you for stopping by and I hope things improve for you all as well xx

  18. Rambles, Rants, Writings Reply

    It’s a tough time! My child was 2 when her brother was born and I was lucky, she just wanted to be his mother and liked being next to him in the pushchair – she soon grew out of that and was upset when he began to reach for her hair when they went in the trolley together! She’s always wanted attention anyway but never gets anywhere. Now they are 11 and 9! The two boys – there is four years difference between them, have always been great. During the first week the elder one wanted to send the baby back because he cried too much! It’s now they’re older that mine cause problems, constantly fighting – major sibling rivalry here that makes mummy and daddy want to pull their hair out! 🙂

    • Oh no so I’ve got that to look forward too then as well!! I hope it gets better for you – please tell me it’s just a phase! Thank you for stopping by X

  19. Rambles, Rants, Writings Reply

    Forgot to say I was linking up from #BloggerClubUK

  20. Mess and merlot Reply

    Oh bless him, it’s so hard isn’t it? Spud was toilet training at the same time we had Flump so he also used the toilet as an excuse to get my attention – usually when Flump was attached to my boob! They really do get used to the new family dynamic so try not to worry about it as 12 weeks is still very early days. They’re bound to feel a bit miffed, going from being the centre of Mummy and Daddy’s world to feeling like the new kid in town is getting all the attention suddenly. Your plan should make him realise he’s still as special as ever! I remember saying things to Spud like “Don’t let Flump see this treat/toy/whatever because it’s especially for you ok?” Probably not the best example of parenting but it made him feel like he had one over on his little sister which he loved!! 🙂 #BloggerClubUK

    • Haha that’s a brilliant idea!! I think I will definitely be giving that a go! As I am sure Monkey will feel exactly the same. I gave him a little silver heart the other day just for when he’s doubting how much I love him which seems to have helped too. I’m sure we will get there afterall as you say 12 weeks is still quite new! Thank you for stopping by and for the tip X

  21. My boys are five years apart and my oldest was (and still is) a great big brother. When the novelty wore off though I was the one feeling the bond between my oldest on me fading and it hurt deeply. I tried to make one-on-one time a priority but with a new baby it’s hard to do sometimes. I remember my oldest not liking the crying though. He did, in fact, ask us to give him back to the hospital in the middle of the night once because his brother’s crying woke him up. I couldn’t help but smirk and try to hold back a laugh. He was so cute about it. Now he’s a teenager and even though he would much rather spend time alone than with his little brother, they are very close and they would do anything for each other. This will pass:) Thanks so much for being one of the fabulous hosts of #bloggerclubuk

    • Aww that’s good to hear, I do feel our bond is under pressure at the moment. I’m hoping a two week holiday will help as Hubby will be able to take more time with Kipper. Haha yes we’ve had the can the baby go back! It’s great they will do anything for each other. Thank you for joining us each week and for stopping by xx

  22. It is a difficult scenario but very common. Going from being the only one in your world to having to share you is hard. There is 4 years between mine and the first thing we did was buy my eldest a toy which we said his new sister had bought him to say “hi” when she was born. He was jealous of the attention she received for about six months and then it just dissipated, so take heart it will get better. Scheduling you and Monkey time is a good strategy. #BloggerClubUK

    • That’s good to know it drops off at somepoint, if ours goes the same way then we are over half way through! We did the toy thing too which definitely helped. Thank you for stopping by xx

  23. Sounds like you’re doing a cracking job so far! Hopefully by the next update you’ll have got through even more of the tricky parts! Good luck! #BloggerClubUK

  24. Sounds like you are doing a fantastic job – it must be so hard as everyone is still adapting to the new addition to the family. We have a 12 year old and it was a big adjustment all round. Although it felt like that adjustment was taking forever, by 4-5 months, it all settled down and I hope it does for you too. I think having time for you and Monkey is a brilliant idea. Thanks for linking to #dreamteam xx

  25. This is such a helpful post. Big Munch stuck to her daddy when her baby sis arrived. I felt like I was missing out on Big Munch although I knew I had to focus on Baby Munch too. It’s hard managing siblings. At any point they can change their minds about each other although there’s always this amazing bond between them xx Sunita #dreamteam

    • I do feel like I miss out on things because I need to feed, then I feel bad!! I can’t wait to see that bond develop. Thank you for stopping by X

  26. Jane Taylor Reply

    Hi Clare, You sound like you are being very sensible and thinking things through and being careful to understand his behaviour and motivations. You are doing a fantastic job and I am sure he will move beyond the overzealous and jealous stages with your guiding hand. #BloggerclubUK

    • Thank you, I’m sure you are right things are even starting to improve since I wrote this. Thanks so much for stopping by X

  27. It’s such a huge adjustment for any child, going from being the One and Only to being a sibling. You seem to be ahead of the game though and I’m sure it will all work out in the end. You’ll probably feel better once Monkey is at school, you can devote the day to Kipper and then have a bit of post school quality time with Monkey. Good luck! 🙂


    • I think you are completely right, that way they will both get quality time! Fingers crossed. Thank you for stopping by X

  28. Bless him. It must be so hard to adjust to such a change in his circumstances. I’m sure he’ll settle into his role as big brother in no time! And then you can think about giving him the sister he has asked for haha! #bloggerclubuk

  29. This is so interesting to read since baby number two is due in just a few weeks! It sounds like you know exactly what you are doing and I think I am going to bookmark this page and refer back to it! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

  30. It’s so tricky with your second baby, our first daughter is now 3 and a half and our baby is 11 months, I remember the 3 month stage really well because it was like our eldest suddenly realised her new sister wasn’t going anywhere and really wasn’t that much fun. Queue lots of sitting on baby’s head, “patting” as you mentioned and small meltdowns because she wanted a cuddle. It looks like you’re doing all the right things and it does get easier (we had the toilet thing too but that has settled now), we love that book “I’m important too” and read it almost every night for ages, we still get it out every now and again to remind our eldest that she is still special and unique. Plus we’ve given her the responsibility of ‘looking after’ her sister, which she loves and does like a little mummy! Good luck and thanks for sharing, lovely post! #bloggerclubuk

    • I wish I had come across the book before now! They should give them out at maternity appointments! Lol! Sound like you have it nailed. I may try the looking after as well. Thank you for stopping by X

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