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Prepare him well for the arrival of the second child: The advice of the psychiatrist

Interview of Stephan Valentin, psychologist *.

Is there an ideal age difference between two children who follow each other?

This is a question many parents ask, because we would really like it to go well between the eldest and the youngest. But it is difficult to find an ideal age difference, because each age gap has advantages and also disadvantages. When births are too close together (1-2 years), the oldest is still small: he is not autonomous, he can not eat alone, or dress alone. When the mother is exhausted and has less time to devote to it, the elder can not live this situation well. Close-to-age children also have a much greater need than others to differentiate themselves. At the same time, there is a positive point: the good quality of the bond that will unite the brothers and sisters. They will be able to play together interested in the same activities ...

And if the age gap is larger?
An age difference of 3 or 4 years automatically refers to the entry into the oedipal phase of the eldest at the time of the cadet's birth. This birth can be experienced with difficulty by the eldest, because it is the proof of the love of his parents. A great jealousy can then settle. But 3 or 4 years apart also have their advantage. The younger can take the elder as a model and make faster progress. At the same time, it will give some pride to the elder who is conscious of knowing how to do more things.

So, the ideal age gap ...?
6-7 years is, according to some specialists, the best gap, because the elder could compensate this competition by other positive life events. He goes to school, he has friends and he already understands that he can do many more things than this little baby. But there are also disadvantages. There will probably be less complicity between the two children. They will play less together and they will live their experiences at very different times. When one enters puberty, the other still plays small cars.
Basically, it's the couple's willingness to start a family and their feeling of being ready to welcome another child that matters. Not the age difference ...

Is it a good idea to take the big one to the baby's ultrasound?

Of course, it's a good idea. That said, parents and their eldest must want it, and it also depends on the senior's age. It is from the age of about 3 years that the elder can really understand this particular visit. In general, children love to see the baby in the "TV" and listen to the heartbeat. Suddenly, this baby that everyone is talking about becomes much more real.

Thank you for giving some advice to prepare this visit ...
- Ask your gynecologist first if he is willing to take your child with you. In many practices, the presence of children under 10/12 is not allowed.
- Choose the second ultrasound to take your child where you can already distinguish much better the fetus.
- Do not let your child attend the screening. Your child should enter when the fetus is visible and any abnormality is ruled out so as not to distress him.
- The exam can be quite long. Come with your partner and another adult (grandmother, uncle, friend, etc.), because if your child starts to get impatient, bored or reacts badly, the second adult can go out with your child and your partner can stay with you.
- Speak at home with your child about this visit. Show that you are listening to him, because he will certainly have many questions.

Finally, what could you give as a basic recommendation not to make gross mistakes?

Certainly, the arrival of a baby causes changes, but it is quite normal. The family needs a time of adaptation, during which each member will rethink their role and find their new position. So trust your family and especially the ability of your baby to seduce the elder. In general, he succeeds fairly quickly.

* Author of "When a new baby arrives", Editions Jouvence.

Read also our files:
> Recomposed families: they testify .
> Being a grandparent is an art .
> My baby sleeps badly.
> Ultrasounds of the pregnancy, in video.

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