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Helping older siblings include preschoolers in their playtime

Molly Cerreta Smith has enjoyed a career in the publishing industry for more than 10 years. As an editor of several regional magazines, she has had the opportunity throughout her career to meet many local celebrities, businesspeople, ent...

Encourage sibling playtime

If there's more than just a year or two age difference between siblings, the disparity in interests and developmental skills may have older kids saying their younger siblings are too "babyish" to play with. What can you do to get your older siblings to include preschoolers in their playtime? Check out these tips from SheKnows.

Brother and sister playing with a puzzle

1Large and in charge

Make the older sibling feel important by telling him how much their younger sibling looks up to him. Make sure you let your older sibling know that he is the responsible for helping include your younger sibling -- playtime niceties like sharing and taking turns are not negotiable.

2Give the little sib a task

If the older daughter is having tea time or playing kitchen, ask her to allow her little sis to help serve the tea sandwiches, or take the cupcakes out of the "oven." This gives the little sibling a chance to help out big sis.

3Make new rules

Certain games that your older children enjoy may have rules that are too complicated for your preschooler to fully grasp. Instead of leaving younger siblings out of the fun, create a new set of rules for a board game or card game that will allow all your children to engage in playtime together.

4That's a puzzler

A puzzle is a great thing to allow little siblings to help big siblings with -- even if it's one that might be too complex for little siblings to complete on their own. The older sibling can have the little one find all the end pieces (or like-color pieces) while the older starts putting the puzzle together. This is a great teamwork activity for your children!

5Make learning a game

It's likely that any playtime activity your older child is engaging in can be used as a learning experience for your little one. Have your older sibling help little sis/bro work on colors, sorting, numbers or alphabet where appropriate in their play.

6Set a limit

Your older sibling may tire of always having a little sibling tagging along -- and he should have his own playtime that's just his own or with friends his own age. So give little sibling some time to play with older siblings, but set a time limit and then get your little sibling started on another project or some solo playtime of his own.

More activities for preschoolers

Plan a messy art day for your preschooler
Put down that cell phone! 5 ways to engage with your preschooler today
Indoor activities for when its cold outside

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