Growing & Building my 5 years old middle child


As I come from a family of 4 and my husband come from a family of 6, we discuss the perks of having 2 siblings vs 4 siblings a lot during our courtship time. We made a conclusion that maybe having 2 kids is too little and 4 seems too much (especially we can’t fit into a sedan car!) So 3 kids it is!

My hyper youngest daughter, the sensitive middle child and the loud eldest son

So I got married, pregnant with first child and then the second child with 2 years gap and I can’t wait to get pregnancy done with that my second and third child – a 1.5 years gap. The pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and not sleeping through the night (no one tells me that even though your child might sleep through the night, you still won’t!) was something I just want to get it done deal with that I do have to admit, a minimum 2 years gap would be more perfect.

More perfect because, I would have more time bonding with her. As I am the primary caretaker, when she was born, the daddy took over her more than I do as my eldest sticks into me like a glue and I didn’t want him to feel like now the sister is here, is no longer important.

When the brother are more grown up and wean off breastfeeding where I can focus more on her, I am pregnant again, which means carrying and cuddling would be an extra stretch.

As much as I would want to say I love all my kids equal, I realised my middle child was a bit more sensitive and more attention seeking. Recently, as my eldest was starting primary 1, I bought a watch for him and told him that when the alarm starts ringing at 530am, he should start waking up. My little-miss-perfect-middle-child, prove to us that she doesn’t need an alarm clock and her biological clock would wake her up before 530am and she woke up super early even though it was a Chinese New Year week and it’s school holiday!

I am definitely not experienced in growing and building my little middle child, but I thought it is worth a shot to try and it has been giving me quite a positive results. What I meant by positive results – well, let’s just begin with I am not a superhero. Every parent has experienced a child’s tantrums and meltdowns. These often come at inconvenient times and places, and they remind us that young children are still learning how to understand and regulate their emotions. Just like adults, kids experience a full range of “big feelings,” including anger, fear, happiness, sadness, excitement and frustration. For her, her emotions are more dramatised and she would have a very pity face.

Self-awareness

Self-awareness involves with identifying and understanding these “big feelings”. She might not be able to articulate if she is mad, angry, happy, scared or just not in the mood. However, taking a step back to think about how she felt, her tantrums and meltdowns are much more controllable.

For example, for my eldest son and youngest daughter, if they’re having tantrums and meltdowns, if I tell them that these are not acceptable and let them pull themselves together, in just like a snap in the finger, their mood can change almost instantly. However, for my middle child, if I were to do that, it would be almost as though I have spoiled her whole day and everything seems wrong for the day.

Change of ways on handling her

Recently, when she is having her tantrums and meltdowns, all I do is to ask her to come to me and let’s hug. I don’t tell her if it’s right or wrong, but just hug her until she feels a little better and if she ready to talk about it. We talk about how she felt, why she felt this way and what would be a better way to handle the situation. Somehow, I feel the connection with her that I seems to lost since I didn’t spend as much time with her like her elder brother did. Not only this has help healed her, it heals me too. Instead of allowing my eldest and youngest to pull themselves together like I use to, I start doing the same with them.
The results – I love how now they can articulate their feelings better and best of all, when the same situation happens again (kids fight all the time!), they seems to be able to handle it themselves better.

Self-control

By 4 years old, kids typically can differentiate between ‘appropriate’ and ‘inappropriate’ behavior. Not that they can’t differentiate when they’re younger, just that at this age, they would be able to think and explain why is it appropriate or inappropriate. Well, that’s the perfect world – when she’s in the mood, she can explain clearly why is it right or wrong. However, when she is not in the mood, she is acting out like a baby. I realised I can’t change her much during that period where she is not in the mood, however, thanks to role play age group, all I needed to do is to play together with her and pull in her siblings along!

Change of ways on handling her

Whenever she is acting out like a baby that she don’t know what is appropriate and inappropriate behaviour, I would start it with “Oh, are you the little baby?”, “Awwww.. baby is still small, so baby don’t understand what is right and what is wrong”, “maybe we should explain and teach baby”, etc then I would pull along her siblings and make them the daddy or mummy.

Then, I would explain the situation to the ‘daddy’ and ‘mummy’ and ask them how can we explain to ‘baby’ that this is inappropriate. They would start explaining and give examples. The role play – always work!

Self-confidence

Being confidence gives them the courage to continue to explore and expand their abilities. However, in my little-middle-child, instead of wanting to do things by herself, she would tell us that she wants us to do for her, she is scared, she can’t do it, etc. This, not only dampen her self confidence, but also loosing out opportunity to try new things.

My little middle child who loves to draw. Tasking her a role where only she can do well and be proud of – drawing for our family pillow

Change of ways on handling her

We start with praises on things that she can do well and above the average and try to expand it by doing new things that is related to things that she does well. She can draw pretty well for a five years old compare to her elder brother, and we always praise her drawings or ask her to draw something for us. So, one of the Sunday activities I did with them, I gave her special task, where she would be tasked for it because she is good at it, it builds her a lot of confidence then. It also helped that her younger sister was proudly showcasing her work. So, leveraging on her drawing skills, we build her self confidence by expanding her abilities to try something new.

Sunday activities with the kids – Family pillow. Drawing by my little middle child
grace

Grace is a Mum of 3 happy, chirpy and energetic kids that she always call them monkeys! She chose to be a stay-at-home-mum so she can be around tending to her kids needs hence she pulls out her entrepreneur skill by co-founding Bare Nuhcessities; a baby personal care products that focus on using safe ingredients in their products. She's also the founder of Memento; making handcrafted keepsake made with breastmilk, baby hair and baby cord. She also wrote a few recipe books which are available in Popular bookstore.

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