When an Older Sibling Acts Out

two young children sitting on a couch looking upset with their parents watching on from behind

If your older child is acting out, they may be feeling less important than a younger sibling, who may have more needs — and require more of your time. While you’re older child may be verbal or even conversational at this point, they may not be able to express complicated feelings; they don’t realize why they’re acting out. 

Making sure that each child receives a fair share of your time can be a challenge! Squeezing in a few special moments for your older child can help them feel more important. 

Here are some ideas you may want to consider: 

  1. If you have to run a quick errand (and someone is available to supervise the younger one), bring your older child along. A quick run to the post office can feel like a special adventure when it’s presented as special time together. 
  2. Allow your older child to stay up a bit later — even it’s just 15 minutes. Save a special “big kid” activity just for this time such as reading a new book or playing with their favorite toy. 
  3. Offer to read an extra story before bedtime — just the two of you.
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