When you’re trying to meet the needs of a young baby as well as your now school-age child, it can be difficult at times. There are so many things your child looks to you for so knowing they have your attention and support helps build up their confidence. But babies can be very demanding of your time, making it hard to feel like you’re giving them both what they need.
When my first child was starting school, she found the first days difficult. She was used to spending most of her time with me or another family member. I didn’t want her to feel like I was pushing her away by sending her off to school when the new baby got to stay with me. Even if your child doesn’t feel at all like this, as parents, we can still feel a twinge of unwarranted guilt!
Of course, there’s no magic wand we can wave to create the perfect solution. No one’s going to give us more hands, an uninterrupted night's sleep or a legion of nannies. But in this post, I’m going to share with you some of the things I did that seemed to make things that little bit easier.
Create an exciting build-up
I really tried to make school as exciting as possible! I made a big event of us going to the shops and buying their new uniforms and shoes, telling them how proud I was. We talked about making new friends and all the things they would get to do so that they really felt like the centre of attention. I managed to dig out some old school photos of me from my first day and told them as many stories as I could remember!
Always be interested
Children love to show you what new things they have learnt or created. It’s important for a child to know you’re paying interest in what they have done, or what they’re trying to tell you.
I always ask about how their day was when they come home. Discussing school lets them know you’ve been thinking about them. Tell them baby has missed them too!
Also, saving up photos or anecdotes to tell them about your day might help them feel included in what’s going on at home.
Welcoming new friends
I quickly invited any new school friends over for kids tea or a playdate, just so it was all about them. I also wanted to make sure my little one was settling in at school and meeting lots of other children. In a short time, it was harder to get her out of the school gates than it was to get her in them!
When my own friends came over to see the new baby, I’d make sure that if my eldest was in earshot I’d mention that she was about to start school soon. To stop the focus being all on the new baby.
A new baby can be demanding of our attention, but whenever I could (although it’s not always possible of course), I placed my older children’s needs first. After all, a baby isn’t really going to remember a thing! They won’t feel jealous that you’re prioritising reading your oldest a bedtime story first before they themselves get bathed, for example.
It’s so hard to accept that your oldest baby is ready for school already! But, they are still so little in the grand scheme of things and still need almost as much attention as the new baby. There will be many more firsts to look forward to for both of them, and for you too!
Is your little one almost ready for school in September? How are you feeling about it? We’d love to know! Tag us @matchstick_monkey on Instagram or Twitter.