14 Answers

My 3 1/2 year old is really struggling with becoming a big brother to twins, he was all excited to the lead up but now is struggling to adapt. His behaviour has been shocking and doesn’t care if he gets positive or negative attention from us. He seems to be worse when we have visitors.

How to help a 3 /2 year old cope with new twin siblings?

Posted by Kim_Beau, 14th May 2015

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  • Get him to help with the babies, give him little surprises from the babies. Make sure you spend time devoted just to him. Have him help with making dinner or pairing up the socks. When feeding babies put his favourite show or music or dvd on just for him. Sing songs or do puzzles or read stories while feeding bubs. Have a grown up afternoon tea with his favourite treats and praise praise praise every little good thing, make a gigantic deal out of the cool stuff he does

  • I hope you were able to reassure your toddler and hope that things are going better now.

  • It’s tricky , my 3 year old started seeing on purpose so I’d put the baby down and offer attention . I think buy the baby bean bags and use them . This will assist the jealousy and also assist self setteling which your are going to want . If you are putting bun in a rocking devise every time they will not learn self setteling and need more attention and cause more jealousy . If gran is around go on dates occasionally with your first born

  • Your relatives and friends probably dote over the babies and he is either literally left out or pretty well ignored. I suggest you ask them to devote some time to him first even if it is only 5 – 10 minutes….and do the same re discussions about the twins. Ww had a problem because one Grandparent only wanted a grandson so when the next one was a boy she was ignored. It was so blatantly obvious to other people as well that we had to have a discussion with her about it. We weren’t popular but we had to do what was best for all children. That may reduce the “demand for attention”. I don’t know if it would help if there was some Dad/son time where Dad takes him somewhere without the twins and they do something special together, even if it only bike riding or the playground. Or you and the twins go out and leave them home. Whatever works for you. No doubt there is some jealousy. He may also be wanting to do things that you can’t becuase you are busy with the twins or can’t take him out because they are asleep and naturally you don’t want to disturb or wake them. The only other suggestion I can think of is to spend a few minutes with him to do what he wants reading, playing – whatever is practical – when they have their sleeps. I realise time is at a premium but if his behaviour improves you will be less stressed. If you’re not spending time watching him every second because he gets in mischief you may not “lose” time as such. Good luck, you may have to try various methods before you have success.

  • Sounds like he is jealous and needing the attention. Try and get him to help and include him with the twins. He is old enough to help get the nappies for change time, or to feed baby with assistance if they are bottle fed. It is normal for older siblings to be a bit more attention seeking when babies are born. As hard as it is, make sure you have some one on one time with him during the day.

  • maybe buy him a pressie that has “come from the twins” and it is a pressie for being a good big brother or person. Try to spend time with him and make it quality time. Try not to make him do “chores” for the baby but instead praise him if he wants to bring you nappies, wipes etc. Don’t worry, this is just a big period of adjustment for him and he is still developing the skills to tell you what he thinks and feels. The babies will be getting a lot of attention so don’t forget to acknowledge him.

  • There’s a Sesame Street book called “My Baby Brother is a Little Monster” – its ultimately positive, but doesn’t shy away from some of the negatives of baby siblings. It might help.

  • If its possible at all is there anyway you could get someone you trust to mind the twins where your son can get one on one time with only you or your hubby or both of you have a special time with only him amd also special outings with him and the twins. Its a hard job for him to understand why he isnt the centre of attention any more.
    If not Is there anyway another family member could also take him out for special
    time to the movies or to the park etc….
    Also i am sure its unintentional but gosh how cute are twins….., Everyone would love them. I am sure he is jealous when people visit and talk the twins. He might need to be the centre of attention for a little while. Goodluck I hope you find something to help him settle a little.

  • My son spent the first year saying “take it back”, wanting us to return baby number 2 to the hospital. We brought him his own baby doll, this helped a little as he could copy. it got easier when number 2 started to move around.

  • Its a big responsibility to be a big brother! Just praise him for the things he does well and keep the attention up, at this age he dosent care if its positive or negative attention he just wants to be heard! Maybe a star chart too and the reward at the end is a special mum & me date, where you take him somewhere special all on his own!

  • Congratulations! It’s also an age thing as at 3 & 1/2 they often change and act out. My son is nearly 4 and has just been through this. Being worse with visitors makes sense as he is seeking attention and probably feels that he has less of it at home now (naturally). Just keep encouraging and rewarding good behaviour, let him help as much as possible and have as much time with him 1 on 1 as possible. Even if its a cuddle and story – doesn’t have to be long.

    I agree that books about being a big brother and also about sharing could be helpful too. I just posted a list on another question here:

    Check out your local library or bookshop for some great books that will help:-
    -The New Baby by Anna Civardi and Stephen Cartwright (Usborne).
    -Miffy and the new baby by Dick Bruna (Egmont)
    -My New Baby by Rachel Fuller (Child’s Play).
    -Our Baby Inside! By Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom (Franklin Watts).
    -The baby’s catalogue by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg (Puffin).
    -I Am a Big Brother!
    -Best-ever big brother by Joanna Cole
    -I Used to be the Baby by Robin Ballard

    You can also get personalised books that might help : http://www.iseeme.com/super-incredible-big-brother-twins-personalized-childrens-book.html

  • Poor baby its a lot when they have someone new in there lives and they don’t get all the attention, I would suggest some special time with only mum and only dad might help good luck.

  • Perhaps try and involve him in helping with the twins such as getting clothes, nappies etc. or even having time set aside for just him and you/hubby (reading a book or an outing). It’s abit of an adjustment for children who are used to having all the attention then suddenly there is one or two (in your case) that comes along.

  • There a some cute books about big brothers and sisters that you could read to him that might help. I don’t know what you have already tried but maybe trying to tell him that he is a big brother now and that the twins will need his help and love. Also maybe give him a gift that is from his new siblings to show how much they are looking forward to having him as their big brother. Hope this helps.

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