So, you have your first child, then decided to give him or her a little brother or sister. Whether it was planned or not, they do not come with instructions as we all know. Having one child is very different than having more than one. Things change and coping with changes is important to avoid feeling overwhelmed. When a parent is overwhelmed everyone in the family gets affected. There are many responsibilities involved.
Parental responsibilities include the following:
- Role model- kids learn most from seeing, be who you want them to become in the future. Spend some quality time together and communicate often.
- Basic needs- water, food, clothing, blankets, healthy checkups, hygiene
- Safe and stable environment- away from dangerous surroundings, harmful products out of reach.
- Discipline- with patience, respect, forgiving, praising good actions, and not only bad ones.
- Education- appropriate for future independence
- Lots of love- accept your child so that they would not be afraid of telling you anything.
- List of basic bills
- Mortgage or rent
- Water bill for homeowners
- Car insurance and or car payments if it’s not paid off already.
- Car maintenance.
- If there are no car available, then public transportation costs.
- If you don’t own a washing machine, then laundry costs.
- PLUS, NEW DAYCARE COSTS
When family or medical leave from your job ends, and or family support is no longer available. It’s time to decide on child care options. When you come up with the idea of having your 10-year-old daughter take care of your 5-year-old son. Please consider that just because your daughter may seem mature enough for her current age she is not prepared to stay home and take care of her brother. Keeping in mind that every child matures at a different pace some earlier and others later. Therefore, the abilities to handle different situations varies from one to the other and it is totally normal.
Some reasons why parents leave their children under the care of the older child may include:
- Not enough income to pay for a babysitter or daycare services
- Thinking the older child is mature enough to take parental responsibilities mentioned above,
- Only a few hours until the parent arrive home from their job,
- Parent works during the night and the kids will be sleeping,
- Have a dog that would scare people away,
- Going to the corner store for some milk and eggs and returning quickly home,
- The older child would entertain the younger one for a long period,
- Parent is going to sleep
- Parent is going to a party or dating someone.
The truth is that you as a parent would not last forever so when it’s time to leave this life the kids are on their own. We all live and eventually die. Instead, teach them how to get along and care for each other. In the first place the reason you gave your older child a young brother or sister was so they do not feel alone. The older child did not choose to bring another member to the family.
Reasons why parents should not leave the kids alone.
- Unable to act fast in an urgent situation without feeling nervous.
- Your older child is not an assistant
- Your older child would miss on important school events.
To think how this would affect the child feelings of being left out the next day in school when all the schoolmates are talking about the school event outcome.
- It can lead to not getting along as a family when they grow older.
- It can affect the older child later in life when they would be prepared to have children be turned down by the fact that they do not want to become parents. Thinking of all the responsibilities at such a young age and missed living per her age.
Remember there is a difference between your older child helping with the young child and raising them. Please do not scream at your older child for things they should not be responsible. Do not obligate the older child to play with the smaller child they are in different ages interests. Children should be taught how to do some appropriate chores around the house based on their age. They need to play and have fun together. Perhaps take them to play outside or for a little walk. They should not be indoors all the time. Just like adults get affected by staying indoor too much time so do kids.
Some useful resources that you can benefit of would include:
- Federal and state child care offer programs for low-income families
If you don’t qualify for those based on your current income don’t worry, there are other options.
- Ask your employer if they currently offer child care or if they offer discounts for a child care program.
- If you are attending college, there are some that offer child care on campus while you study.
_Remember to ask about payments based on income
_Discount for more than one child enrolled in the program
_Discount for military family members
(If the options above, don’t work for your current situation there is more help available.)
- Programs that are nonprofit based like your local church and other religious organizations.
*** If you need help finding some of these resources phone numbers and locations do not hesitate to contact me I would be more than happy to help you. ***