Now that your firstborn is now an Ate (or a Kuya), it is important to foster a loving and close relationship with her new younger sibling. Adjusting to her new role may be effortless or a bit more challenging, depending on your toddler’s mood and readiness. Sibling rivalry and jealousy is fairly common and very natural. However, you can help your firstborn ease into her new role by setting up some bonding activities between your children.
1. Reading a bedtime story Remember that your toddler loves to mimic your every move. Read her a bedtime story and in return, let her read to her new sibling. Even if she can’t read yet, she can flip through the pages and explain what’s happening in the pictures.
2. Helping with bath time You can give Ate a washcloth and ask her if she wants to wash the baby’s toes or tummy. You can also ask her to get the baby’s towel once the baby’s all clean. By giving her these roles, she feels important and proud to be an Ate.
3. Looking through (ate’s) baby albums This is a great bonding activity because it allows your toddler to understand that she was also once a baby who got that special attention from mom and dad. And now it’s time for Ate to give that special attention to her new sibling. Also, this is not only entertaining for your children but also for you! Take a trip down memory lane and look how big your firstborn has grown.
4. Ate the Entertainer When the baby is crying or upset, instead of shooing away Ate, have her sing or dance for her younger sibling.
5. Baby massage Carefully guide your toddler’s hands to gently caress your baby’s hands, feet, legs, and torso. Once Ate has gotten the hang of it, she can do the baby massage by herself, supervised of course.
Teach Ate how to be gentle with her younger sister. It can be difficult at times but just be patient and she will eventually learn. Also expect that your toddler might accidentally hurt her younger sibling eventually. Resist the urge to immediately swoop in and take the baby away from her Ate. Let your toddler try to be the Big Ate and resolve the situation on her own. This also allows her to see herself as a loving and caring older sister rather than a troublemaker. It is natural to be over-protective of your newborn; your toddler has never seemed so dangerous and threatening when she is around your baby. The worst thing you can do is to alienate your toddler by being too protective. Allow them to bond and out of this will blossom one of the strongest and most beautiful relationships.