Mischievous middle children might be vying for attention.
No matter how loving and adorable, your peacemaker of a middle child is bound to strike against his birth order at the most inopportune of times. Child-rearing multiple children is a non-stop juggling act, some days leaving you with diapers in one hand, homework in the other and your middle child pulling at both arms, with feelings of being left out of the mix. Handle middle child problem behaviors by preparing yourself with strategies that limit their probability and escalation.
1Toddler-proof your home with safety gates, safety locks, toilet lid locks, plug covers for electrical outlets and corner guards or padding to provide a safe environment within which your middle child can explore, decreasing the probability for his injury and your anxiety. An unattended and curious middle child on-the-go might seem more problematic when safety hazards exist within the home.
2Diagnose the cause of your middle child's problematic behavior to prevent or solve the problem before it turns your hair prematurely gray. Whining, crying and tantrums can signify an over-tired or hungry child. Pestering siblings can indicate a bored or attention-seeking middle child. Aggressive behaviors such as hitting, biting and kicking might show frustration or jealousy.
3Create and stick to a daily routine of meal and nap times to maintain sanity for both you and her. Consistency in meal and nap times helps prevent outbursts related to hunger or over-tiredness, saving you from untimely meltdowns. Schedule nap times for your middle child around the same time you need a break from her, such as while tending to older or younger child's individual needs.
4Provide your middle child with individualized attention through stimulating activities and games that challenge and entertain him. Schedule "mommy and me" or "daddy and me" time while your other show-stealers are preoccupied. This prevents your middle child from getting lost in the mix and can decrease attention-seeking or jealousy-provoked behaviors that leave you frazzled.
5Redirect your middle child from negative behaviors such as clanking silverware or climbing on furniture that cramp play dates and dinners out. Arm yourself with toys, activities and snacks to divert her attention with a positive distraction from mischievous behaviors by helping her focus on positive sources of fun.
6Purchase new toys solely for your middle child, providing him with possessions of his own and not hand-me-downs of the eldest or baby toys of the youngest. This can help decrease the incessant "mines" and refereeing over the grabbing and fighting for toys amongst your little angels.
7Give your middle child the opportunity to have an active voice and take on a leadership role to boost her esteem and diminish feelings of being left out. Ask her to choose the movie, snack, or game during family time and watch her gleam as "queen of the day."
8Model positive behaviors such as sharing, complimenting, hugging, gentle touch, taking turns, cleaning up toys and quiet play. Role-modeling such actions, even if in between diaper changing and homework helping, sets an example for your middle child, teaching him the correct way to interact with siblings and peers.
9Praise your middle child with compliments, hugs, kisses and rewards consistently for exhibiting positive behaviors and correct decisions. Positive reinforcement teaches her to receive attention for appropriate versus inappropriate actions. An added benefit is the creation of a role model for your youngest, taking some of the pressure off you.
Things You'll Need
- Safety gates
- Safety locks
- Toilet lid locks
- Plug covers
- Corner guards or padding