07 October 2011

Coping with a younger sibling's "homework jealousy"

Amazon: Skip Hop Zoo Pack Little Kid Backpack, OwlAh, that adorable, inexorable toddler desire to "be a big kid." Here's how Dr. Efrat Schorr handled it with respect to an older sibling going to school:

My 2 1/2 year old daughter is terribly jealous of her older brother, a newly minted first grader, and his backpack full of shiny new school supplies. She also seems to come undone when he is doing his homework, with all of those precious objects plus parental attention!

I have gotten her a backpack and pencil case with some coloring books, ABC workbooks, and old work pages so that she can do her "homework" while my son does his.

Ahh, if only the ones who had to do homework wanted to do it too!!


When I read this hack, I had a totally involuntary wistful sigh. Like when school-age kids wish they were grown up because "it's so much easier to be an adult." OH, KID. SIGH.

Okay. Back to practicalities! This is a wonderful way to acknowledge how a toddler feels and build up his excitement about school and learning.

Who else has a toddler who envies his siblings' schoolkid status? What have you done about it?

RelatedPack lunches for schoolkids and at-home kids at the same time

Your comments

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Yes! My two-year-old has her own backpack to wear when we walk her big brother to school. We usually do homework during her naptime though. :)

With 3 older homework laden siblings, our 4 year old begs for homework too---so we've told him his homework is to SNUGGLE with a grown-up (hugs for homework!) and he proudly goes around snuggling with Mom, Dad, Grandparents, babysitters, whatever adult is in the home at homework time. We tell him he's getting 100% and to keep up the good work! Puts a proud smile on his face everytime and we're getting a huge boost from it too!!

We have a 6, 5 and 2 year old and if anyone is interested in what the other(s) are working on we just make a quick copy of it on our multifunction inkjet printer and they can try to do it too. For the 5 year old that means sounding out his big sister's spelling words or doing some stuff with help from us or her. For the 2 year old it means coloring all over the paper and hanging it on the fridge. But still, everyone is happy! :)

Forgot to add that the 2 year old has that backpack and she LOVES it. And so do I.

I bought my toddler a pencil case and filled it with his wooden pencils. And, like Ursula does, we copied any interesting homework pages for him, so he could "fill in" on his own. Almost every day he sat beside his elder brother and did his "homework" with great enthusiasm - so we were able to do the big one's homework. It worked pretty good.

i love the copy pages idea! im sure the older one loves telling the little one that they arent doing it right and proceding to show them how its done! then there isnt as much of a problem with homework envy such as "what is she working on". or" how come his homework is easier!"

"Like when school-age kids wish they were grown up because 'it's so much easier to be an adult.'"

For me this was actually true. Being a kid is hard. :)

I would take the little one shopping for her own back pack and let her pick out her own school supplies. During homework time, you can give her coloring or other preschool worksheets. Take advantage of her eagerness to learn and go with it!

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