There are many things an older child can learn from a younger child and this is why restricting playdates to “only kids who are the same age” or “very close in age” is not always the best idea.
When my twins were very little, a friend said: “They are learning so much from your older child!” I said that the older one was learning a lot from them, too. She shrugged her shoulders as if to say: “You are crazy, what can he learn from two babies?”
He, on the other hand, has learned so much from them!
6 Things An Older Child Can Learn From A Younger Child:
1. Leadership skills
When an older child plays with a younger child, the older one automatically becomes a leader. He or she has to come up with games as well as ideas on how to organize the younger one to play these games. “Let’s draw with chalk,”- a 7 year old may suggest to a couple of toddlers, while playing outside. He then has to make them sit down, interest them in the drawing process and teach them how to draw while not eating the chalk. “No, they are not too little. Find a way to organize them to play your game. ”
2. Teach the little one what they know to know it better.
To make sure you really know what you think you know, try to teach it to someone else. A younger child is very helpful to an older child, because the older one can teach the little one what he or she knows. I delight in watching my older son teaching my little twins letters, numbers, counting, gardening or jumping on one leg. By doing so, the older one learns the things he is teaching even better and he also learns how to teach more effectively. “Can you please spend a few minutes teaching your friend about dinosaurs?”
3. Management skills
Dividing activities between the little ones is something an older child can do when there are multiple small children present. It’s not an easy task to be a good manager. The older child has to find appropriate activities for the little ones and make sure the little ones are doing these activities.
An older child can also find a way to occupy the little one so that the little one is not disturbing the older one. Have you seen an older child doing a puzzle with 500 small pieces, while the baby is trying to put these pieces in her mouth? This situation is a golden opportunity to teach your older child some management skills. “If you don’t want your sister to disturb you, find something for her to do.”
4. Learning how to be patient
With little ones, you always have to wait. There are nap times, there is whining, there is time it takes to put their clothes on and take their clothes off after the clothes get stained 3 minutes after being put on. Dealing with this whole process takes patience and your older child is learning how to be patient by being around little kids.
5. Learning how to be kind and gentle
You can’t play rough with a baby. You have to be sensitive to toddler’s moods. You have to always pay attention to your physical movement, so that you don’t step on someone who is crawling everywhere. An older child is developing sensitivity by learning how to be around smaller children.
6. Learning How to React When Someone Has an Outburst
Smaller kids are notorious for their tantrums and outbursts and this is a great learning experience for older kids! The older child can learn how “we don’t hit “and how “we don’t scream” a lot faster while their little brother is being all upset than if you just repeat it to your child like a parrot. Most parents know how hard it is to retain their composure during kids’ tantrums, so the fact that an older child has a chance to learn this lesson of staying calm during other people’s outbursts so early, is a privilege. “Go and comfort your little brother, he is all upset about his truck getting stuck behind the door.”