Parenting
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This post is sponsored by Lovevery, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board.

What’s Helping My 4-Year-Old Bond With His New Baby Sister

written by MEGAN KEMP & STEPH ALLEVA CORNELL
Source: Megan Kemp
Source: Megan Kemp

There’s quite a lot parents can be nervous about when bringing home another baby. I had copious questions going into my mom-of-two phase, but the answers all ended up being far more simple than I anticipated. “How am I going to juggle one more?” With patience and practice. “How could I possibly make more room in my heart?” Your heart simply grows. “How do I encourage sibling bonding from the very beginning?” The answer to sibling bonding was likely the most surprising to me.

I was so concerned with my son and daughter’s four-year age gap, yet it’s been the most organic transition of them all. I listened to all the advice about introducing them, providing both kids with equal amounts of solo mom time, and minimizing jealousy. But the best bonding occurs when I take a step back and give my oldest the opportunity to connect through what he loves most: play.

I really did not expect for them to play during these early stages of my daughter’s life—I mean, truly, playing with a newborn isn’t very stimulating. And my very active 4.5-year-old requires a lot to keep his attention. But I 100 percent credit this to our Lovevery playthings. We used Lovevery Play Kits with my son all those years ago, and after donating them, I was eager to restart my subscription with our daughter. I am so glad I did because while I did expect their Play Kits to help her with developmental milestones, I didn’t realize they’d also provide hours of sweet bonding for both my kids. This is how we’re encouraging playtime for my kids, even with their four-year age gap:

Why playtime is so important

Playing is how children learn best. They make sense of the world by using their imaginations and enacting it. Before my daughter arrived, we encouraged my son to play with dolls and practice being gentle. Even before then, playing has always helped him process life changes and practice important skills. We first witnessed this when he was an infant and played with his Lovevery Play Kits.

Lovevery is one of those brands you see all over social media and whose hype is totally deserved. I got to see firsthand how beneficial The Play Kits were for my son’s development throughout his first year. Their subscription provides a Play Kit every 2-3 months from newborn and beyond, and each one is carefully curated with play items perfectly suited for each stage. They target important milestones like motor skills, coordination, language, and more while also teaching parents exactly how to support their growth.

The Play Guides that come with each Play Kit are a parent’s best friend during the first year of baby’s life. They give expert guidance on how to use each plaything, so I was never left wondering if I was playing with my son correctly. This was what I was most excited about when I restarted my subscription for my daughter because, after four years, I was in urgent need of a newborn play refresher course. I knew Lovevery would help me interact with her, and to my surprise, they helped my son, too.

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How we encourage bonding

It’s natural to feel anxious about your toddler or preschooler handling a very small and very fragile newborn baby. Supervision and guidance are essential when introducing a new sibling, but so is giving your oldest the space to build this new relationship. My kids’ interactions those first few weeks were closely monitored, but I felt more comfortable stepping back as my daughter grew a bit stronger. I would place her on her Lovevery Play Gym, lay out a few items from The Looker Play Kit, and show my son how to help her interact with them. He was immediately interested, and I could tell he felt special being her little teacher. This became part of our daily routine, and now my son reminds me to bring out her Play Kit when he gets home from school.

Now that she’s more interactive, he gets so excited whenever she smiles at the Black and White Card Set or coos when he “reads” the Wooden Book. She can now sit in his lap and hold her head up long enough to have cute little conversations with her big brother. Her next Play Kit is coming soon, and he’s been asking about it daily. His enthusiasm is the sweetest thing to watch and really helps on those days when I feel like juggling two kids is more than I can handle. So many other parts of transitioning into a mom of two have been overwhelming, but at least building their bond has come naturally, thanks to her Play Kits.

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This post is sponsored by Lovevery, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend brands we genuinely love.