Toddler & Twin Newborns - Jealousy

  • Currently have a just shy of 3 y/o son and 3 month old twin boys.  the oldest loves his baby brothers - but we have some serious acting out after preschool in the evenings at home.  we try to spend as much time as possible with him - one of us plays with him outside until dark while the other tends to the twins, however, when both of us get tied up with the babies (feeding or just soothing them) our oldest manages to get into or do everything he isn't supposed to.  this often times leads to him getting punished or fussed at, which I hate doing b/c in the back of my mind I know it is b/c he is wanting attention.  anyone else, have this dilemma - what to do?  only 2 parents - one toddler + 2 newborns means we're outnumbered!

  • There may be a jelousy issue going on or he could just be tired at the end of the day. My son is four and goes to preschool for just a few hours in the morning. He naps in the afternoon and still manages to be fussy in the evening. He also tends to fuss and get into more trouble when my husband comes home. Does your son nap? It might help to make sure he is getting enough sleep. You can also try rewarding his good behavior every time you catch him doing a good job. This helps a lot with my son. I also give a pep talk when he is in a good mood. I let him know what I expect from him that evening and get him excited about doing a good job. If you have a fun activity planned you can mention that in your pep talk. That way he will be excited about it.

    When you know you are going to both be busy, you can let one of the babies cry for a few minutes while you set your oldest up with an activity. I like to fill a cardboard box with rice or sand and put his dump trucks in it. I sit it at the kitchen table where I can watch him with it. He will play with that for a very long time if I am tied up with something else. Playdough is another good busy activity. You can also let him color on a mirror with washable markers. He might color himself too, but it washes off easy and is non-toxic. Plan ahead about what he can be doing when you are both busy. You can also place a sheet over the kitchen table and let him play under it. Keeping him occupied will keep him out of trouble.

  • Sounds like what my 2-year-old goes through after daycare, and pretty typical of a toddler. I'm with BabyNurse on this in that there could be some jealousy issues going on, could be a phase, could be normal toddler behavior, or any combination of those things.

    This is the time to set boundaries and he's going to be doing some serious testing of them. As mom, you need to hang tough and let him know what's okay and not okay for him to do, while also not undermining his self esteem. It's a tricky balance, but it sounds like you're striking a good balance of attention and affection for your older son, which is so important.

    Also remember that what he's doing may have nothing to do with your changed family dynamic. Two and three are rough ages. The key is to set boundaries and stick to them in order to teach our kids what's acceptable behavior and what's not. Counter consequences with explanation of what they did wrong and reassurance of your love. It's how they learn.

  • We had similar problems BUT ours were solved with changing daycare.  Because our toddler didn't act out on days she wasn't at daycare.  I spoke with the provider, who we loved, and no one could put their finger on anything specific.  But once the change was made, we've been 100% awesome.

  • My daughter is 4 1/2 and our twin infants are 4months.  I think this just takes time.  There are major changes, and your eldest has to know that no matter what the rules are not changing.  Initially I felt like we were punishing our eldest EVERY DAY, but lately we seem to have one or two good nights a week.  I am with you - I know this is a cry for attention.  But my daughter has to know that she's not going to get away with breaking the rules just because there are two new babies.  We're outnumbered, too - I feel your pain ;-)  It just takes time!  Keep being consistent and setting the tone, and it will eventually change.  It doesn't help that he's three, which is a VERY challenging age on its own!

  • I have a 7 year old and just had a baby 6 weeks ago and my son is jealous also. Him (7 year old)  being  use to having all my attention is now having to give up most of it to the baby. I am a single mom, so I am outnumbered too. He has been acting out and getting really whiny. I try to explain to him that when he was that little he needed me that much too. And that she has to depend on me for everything to survive and be healthy. I try to get him involved with her care. He loves to be my helper and then he doesn't feel left out either.