There's nothing sweeter than the way that younger siblings look up to older ones. Sure, sometimes there are shouting matches and no one feels that they got enough time with their favorite toy. But most of the time, when your kids are little, the younger one wants to be just like their brother or sister.
Summer is a magical time of free afternoons and lots of time for siblings to hang out together. But once the weather begins getting a bit cooler and it's time to go back to school, toddlers might wonder why their beloved sibling is out of the house most of the time now. Read on to find out 10 ways to help toddlers when older siblings go to school.
10 Explain The Schedule
Kids really love being told what's going to happen and so sharing the day's schedule with your toddler is a good idea. When your toddler is upset that their older sibling is off to school and they're not, you can let them know what to expect.
You can talk about how their sibling will go to school Monday to Friday and they'll be there from the morning until the mid-afternoon. You can explain that they'll be home for part of the afternoon, evenings, and weekends.
9 Plan A Special Activity With Your Toddler
When your toddler is feeling a lot of emotions about their sibling going to school, you can plan a special activity for the two of you. From visiting a park in a nearby neighborhood that has colorful playground equipment to a bakery that makes the best donuts ever, you can find many activities for a really nice afternoon.
We all need cheering up when we're upset and we all like being paid special attention by someone that we love. Your toddler will really like this special time.
8 Plan A Family Day
You can also plan a family day on a Saturday and Sunday and that will help your toddler feel connected to their sibling and like they're still getting a chance to hang out.
Since back to school season coincides with the fall season, there are many activities that will appeal to everyone in the family. Pumpkin patches, apple picking and hiking are just some ways to spend time together and also get outside.
7 Play School At Home
Nothing is cuter than a toddler pretending to be a teacher and playing school in their basement or playroom. If your toddler is really envious that their big brother or sister is starting school, why not have them go to "school" as well?
There are tons of tiny chairs, tables, and little whiteboards or chalkboards available. You can set up a little corner in your house and your toddler can teach a lesson to you, their nanny, their favorite stuffed animals, etc. They'll feel so proud and will feel part of things.
6 Buy The Same Supplies (Plus A Backpack) For Your Toddler
On that note... If your toddler is upset that their sibling gets some new school clothing and supplies, you can buy them a few things, too.
You could get them a backpack that's their favorite color or has a favorite character, along with some fun markers, crayons, construction paper, and anything else that seems fun. They're going to love feeling just like their big bro or sis.
5 Get Them Prepped For Their Own School Days
Now that you have a toddler, it's not going to be too long before they're off to kindergarten.
You can get them ready for their own school days by setting up playdates, buying them some picture books about subjects they could learn in school, and anything else that seems appropriate. Since they want to be just like their sibling, this is going to be really exciting for them.
4 Include Your Toddler When Possible
Your toddler is going to be curious about their sibling going to school. There are going to be some opportunities for the whole family to visit the school throughout the year, from open houses to performances to other events.
These events will help your toddler feel like they're involved, and they're going to love it. If your kid doesn't take the bus home and you pick them up from school and bring your toddler, they will love that, too.
3 Make Dinner As A Family
Eating the evening meal together allows everyone to catch up on what went on that day and chat. But what about making dinner together as a family?
You can find some easy recipes that won't take more than half an hour or so. And if everyone pitches in, it'll be efficient and enjoyable. Your kids will get a chance to chat about their days and reconnect.
2 Structure Their Time
If your toddler is in daycare, then their days are fairly structured, and it's really good for them to get into a routine on a daily basis. If they're at home with a nanny or babysitter during the week, their time can be structured in a similar way.
Create a daily schedule for your toddler that includes park time, puzzles, favorite games, some educational activities, and anything else that you think is a good idea. They'll be busy learning and having fun. The schedule will also be a bit of a distraction from the fact that their brother or sister is gone most of the day from Monday to Friday.
1 Create A New Family Weekend Routine
The first few weeks of school are busy and hectic as everyone is settling back into routines and letting go of the freedom of summer. Thankfully there are two days each week to hang out and spend time as a family (although, of course, the weekend never seems long enough and always goes by too quickly).
When your toddler is concerned about their sibling heading back to school, you can create a new family weekend routine. Whether it's eating delicious pancakes on Sunday morning or a family walk in the afternoon, your children will enjoy it. And everyone will feel confident knowing that even as schedules change a bit, you're still having fun as a family.