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With a high-need baby, I have no time for my 4-year-old
Q: My 6-month-old daughter is a high-need baby, which makes it very hard for me to spend time with my 4-year-old son. When dad gets home we play a game, and before bed I read him a story, but I don’t feel that’s enough. Can you please tell me how I can spend more one-on-one time with him? Soon he’ll be attending Head Start.
A: The very fact that you are thinking about this possible problem convinces me that you will find a way to solve it, Crystal. I have a hunch that the situation is more disturbing to you than to your son. At least you didn’t mention any of his behaviour that might indicate undue jealousy or upset.

Because you spent so much time with your son before your daughter was born, you are naturally assuming that you should continue at the same level. But that is not necessarily so. Not only do you now have a baby to take care of, but you also have a little boy who is becoming more capable of doing things on his own. Once he starts attending Head Start he will have new friends and will participate in some activities (like playing games) that he formerly would not have been able to do without you. So now just hold on to some of the irreplaceable activities—like reading to him—and don’t worry too much about the fact that you don’t have as much time for him as you did.

Also, now that he’s 4, your son can do more things with you that are part of your family schedule. Leave your baby with her dad and take your son with you on shopping trips. He will cherish that special time with you. And, occasionally just ignore that “high-need” baby as she expresses her need loud and clear while you tend to your son or do something special with him. It won’t hurt her a bit, and it will probably help him a great deal.