When trying to decide whether to have another baby, I spent a lot of time thinking about the pros and cons for my daughter.
Would she love having a playmate or would she hate having to share my attention with another child?
Would the sibling fallouts of the teenage years be worth it for the shared secrets and in-jokes she would have with a sibling?
10 Best Things About Being A Younger Sibling
In truth, I hadn’t given much thought to have the new sibling would feel. My mind was completely focused on my existing child.
Now that I have two children, I can see the pros are plentiful for both of them. Sure, there are some downsides, like having to share toys and attention, but these are more than made up for in the love they have for one another.
Here are just some of the benefits I think my youngest child enjoys because she has a big sister around:
#1: So Many Toys
She’s only ten months old, but my youngest already has a lifetime supply of toys at her disposal. All the baby and toddler toys have been brought down from the loft so she has plenty of things to keep her entertained.
And there’s a whole playroom filled with dangerous things like Lego and beads which she spends all day trying to get her grubby hands on. Her birthday is coming up and I can’t think of anything she needs because she has already inherited all of her older sister’s toys.
#2: 24 Hour Entertainment
I am not a jazz hands mum. I don’t put on extensive puppet shows with funny voices, I don’t spend hours building toys just so she can knock them down and I find peekaboo pretty boring. That’s ok though, because her older sister loves all of those things.
It’s like having a live-in children’s entertainer who works non-stop. From 6am (sob) until bedtime, my older daughter keeps her baby sister entertained by singing, reading and performing for her.
#3: Love Heart Eyes
My daughters love each other. If I had to sum up their relationship with an emoji, it would have to be the love heart eyes emoji. That’s how my baby looks at her big sister. She adores her. She gives her a huge grin every time she sees her. She clambers all over her, gives her huge sloppy kisses and squeals with delight when they play together.
I have no doubt that her big sister is her favourite person in the world. I’m not even jealous (well, maybe a bit), I’m just thankful they have each other.
#4: No Time For Boredom
I do the best I can, but parenting can be exhausting and sometimes I’m too tired to be fun. Sometimes I just need to lie on the sofa and focus all of my energy on not falling asleep. This is usually at about 6am.
Luckily for my baby, that’s when her big sister is on form. While it takes me at least half an hour to wake up in the morning, the two of them wake up bursting with energy (sorry, neighbours).
So, while I try to wake myself up, my baby can look to her big sister for entertainment. She doesn’t have to be bored, she doesn’t have time, she has a big sister.
#5: Calm Parents
The anxious days of new parenthood are well behind you by the time you embark on your second child. With my first, I was terrified of sharp corners, viral rashes and her development.
This time, I’m more relaxed. I don’t run to Google every time something new happens, I have learnt to trust my instincts as a parent and enjoy the journey. Sure, she falls off things sometimes, but she’s fine. With another child to take care of, I don’t even have the time to sweat the small stuff.
Parenting is easier the second time around because you’re simply too busy to be in panic mode.
#6: More Freedom
My youngest daughter already has more freedom than her big sister did at the same age. She’s allowed to explore more and I hover over her less. I know she’ll be fine. Probably.
I know she’s learning and being free to explore is an important part of that. I know risk-taking is important. I know she’s gaining confidence, learning how to use her body and having the best time ever. I love watching her discover things for herself.
With her sister, I was so desperate to show her things that I did things for her – I showed her how toys worked, I lifted her onto the slide, I took charge. This time, I let my daughter figure things out for herself and she looks so proud when she does something new.
#7: I’m Used To Being Tired
The sleep-deprivation of new parenthood was a huge shock for me when my firstborn arrived. I couldn’t get my head around the fact I was supposed to function on just four hours sleep a night. I was exhausted.
I haven’t slept since. I’m now pretty good at functioning on four hours sleep. I mean, I’m no Margaret Thatcher (thank goodness), but I can pass for human after very little sleep these days.
And, I have the benefit of hindsight – I know she’ll sleep one day. I’ll be tired for a year, maybe longer, but then I’ll get some sleep. Knowing this makes the tiredness a little more bearable.
#8: So Many Clothes
If you have another child of the same sex, you already have an entire wardrobe of clothes at your disposal. Even if you don’t have the same gender, you probably have plenty of vests, socks and other bits which can be used again.
This leaves your shopping budget free to buy the things you really love. My daughter’s wardrobe is bursting at the seams thanks to all the clothes she has inherited from her big sister plus the extra bits I’ve bought just for her.
#9: Floor Play
I love reading. I am never happier than when I’m snuggled up with a child reading a picture book. That’s my happy place.
Floor play is my personal hell. I don’t like pushing wooden trains around circular tracks, I detest making ‘brum’ noises for cars and I really dislike playing games with tiny figures.
I used to feel guilty about this and worry that my eldest was missing out because I was so bad at playing. This time around, I have a play assistant to take care of all of that for me. Now I don’t have to feel guilty and I have five minutes to myself to drink a hot cup of tea. Winning.
#10: Built-In Best Friend
I’m sure there will be fallouts over toys in the future. And fallouts about friends and personal space and just about anything else. I’m sure there will be screaming matches and tears and unkind words. But, for now, having two is bliss. They’re best friends.
The youngest is truly besotted with her big sister and the oldest couldn’t be a more caring big sister. They’re four years apart in age, but that doesn’t stop them playing together. My days are (mostly) filled with the sound of laughter and loving moments that make my heart swell.