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Old 05-21-2010, 07:19 PM   #1
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Sensitive toddler - cries when baby cries

I apparently have a very sensitive 2 1/2 year old, and every time she's around when her brother starts to cry, she covers her mouth (like when you gasp in surprise) and then gets worried and upset ... sometimes she cries too. Sometimes it gets bad enough (like if he starts crying in the car and I can't get to him right away) that it takes a bit to calm her down.

I've tried telling her that baby is crying because that's how he talks to us and tells us that he is hungry, etc... I don't know what else to do. Any suggestions?

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Old 05-21-2010, 07:35 PM   #2
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Re: Sensitive toddler - cries when baby cries

subbing because my son is the same way
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Old 05-21-2010, 07:55 PM   #3
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Re: Sensitive toddler - cries when baby cries

Well this doesn't always work, but one thing that has been useful with my son when he gets upset around crying babies is to give him things to say. We say "You're okay baby." "Don't worry...we will be there soon...your bottle is coming...mommy is just over there..ect." He parrots lines I feed him. It makes him feel less helpless. Sometimes there is no helping it though. It is an emotional reaction. Sweet kids!
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Old 05-21-2010, 08:44 PM   #4
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Re: Sensitive toddler - cries when baby cries

Yes, give them something to do. My younger is a big ol' cry baby but my older started handling it much better when we help her "help" the baby. Sometimes she will run to find a paci or lovey, offer a baby toy or help me sing to sister in the car. The singing does not work for the younger but it gives the older something to do. She also will hold hands (even in the car) and that works. My younger is just VERY attached to physical closeness and affection. She doesn't care who it is as long as someone is close to her.
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Old 05-21-2010, 08:51 PM   #5
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Re: Sensitive toddler - cries when baby cries

I think this is really common. We joke at my work (fitness center childcare) that once one starts the others start. Even young babies cry when another cries. But with young siblings they actually start feeling that sadness when someone else is sad or cries. When anyone else cries it really upsets my youngest and he'll start crying too.
I like the idea of "helping" by getting something. I would start with a small soft toy or taggie blanket, they could be trying to help you another time and put a blanket on the baby's face or shove the paci too far in their mouth unknowingly.
A friend from a due date club on another forum once told us about how she was sleeping while her two LOs were asleep and I guess her 3yr old picked up the baby from their carseat and put her in the bouncy or swing by herself while mom was asleep. YIKES!! I could never take a nap while baby was napping if the other boys were home after that.
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:44 PM   #6
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Re: Sensitive toddler - cries when baby cries

Thanks guys! She started out alright in the car the other day, telling her brother "it's okay, don't cry" and things like that... but then he kept crying. That's really when it started. She's a HUGE help, and will run and get me things *most* of the time if I ask her to.. but if she's really upset it's like she'll start going to get something and then stop and stand there in the hall and cry (today I really needed her to get me a diaper for the baby and it took her a while because of the crying)

I'm happy to hear that this is normal though!
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Old 05-21-2010, 11:12 PM   #7
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Re: Sensitive toddler - cries when baby cries

DS1 is 26 months and sometimes I wonder if he even realizes DS2 is crying at all! He can sleep right through some serious screaming in the car next to each other. My mom said the crying bothered my older sister when I came along but the adjustment has been really easy for us. I just try to give all of my attention to my oldest when the baby is content so that when I do have to feed him or change his diaper DS1 isn't feeling needy as well.
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