Sophie's World Blog

When to let the bigger one take care for the little one?

When to let the bigger one take care for the little one?

One of them is small, the other one is old enough, but how many years are between them?

There is a 14-year-old teenage girl in the family and she has a 1-year-old brother. Sometimes she is very proud when she is walking on the street with his little bro, listening when people are whispering on her back, “Wow, she gave birth at her age.”

Sometimes she even plays along, but sometimes when she’s at home and friends come to visit her, she feels a little bit embarrassed about the little one, and the way that she needs to take care of the baby boy. And the little one just does not get the message at the moment. Their age difference is 13 years.

But that age gap is not very common, that situation is quite unique, but very helpful as well. Parents have to know how to handle it, to not let the big one take the babysitting task all the time, as he/she also wants to run out from the world because she’s a teen, and the small one mainly needs his parents to always be around, and not his/her older sibling. So this is quite a tricky situation.

But what about those with average age gaps?

Some parents think they survive with the two small ones in almost the same time, they won’t be jealous, and they can play together, while others think they need 5-8 years between the two so they can take care of each other.

As I see it, the big one needs to be at least 12 years old, but some kids should be older because all kids are different. It also matters if the older kid is a boy or a girl. Girls take responsibilities earlier than boys, but this also do not apply in all cases, like if we are talking about a 13-year-old boy that is quite serious and is capable of taking responsibility. You have to see this with your kids, you have to know them, and see their boundaries and capabilities.

And of course, there are so many different situations as well. Because it’s really not the same if the parents leave the kids at home alone for half an hour, let them out to your own garden alone, leave them for hours alone, or ask the older one to go to the playground with the small one.

For that, I think the big one needs to:

  • Be at least 12 years old
  • Understand the meaning of responsibility
  • Have a mature personality
  • Be caring and attentive
  • Can make decisions
  • Can help the small one whenever necessary
  • Can give the little one what they need
  • Can play together
  • Can read
  • Can use the phone if they need to ask something or if something happens.

It’s definitely a big help for the parents if they can trust the older child and they know for sure that he/she one is reliable and mature enough to handle the situation.

What you can do, if the list above matches the older child:

  • Leave them alone for a few hours in the house during the day
  • Let them out to the garden to play
  • Put them to bed in the evening and go out for dinner
  • Ask the big one to bring home the little one from the kindergarten or the school

But how should we give tips, when all the parents, children, and situations are different?

The best thing we can do in this case is to make sure you know your kids very well. Trust them and always give them the task that’s suitable for their age. Parents just can’t be wrong or make a mistake if they know their kids’ temper and capacity.

Always start things slowly, then when you see that it’s going well and they also enjoy it, then you can assign bigger tasks to them.

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Copyright: Zsófia Michelin-Corporatum Oy, Content pictures copyrigh: Shutterstock, Development: e-Com