Everyone should have a third child, even if they have only one or two. Third children are incredible (or at least mine is). They are independent and confident and funny.
And I have my excellent parenting to thank. Or at least my lack of parenting. Third children just don’t get as much intense attention as the first and they aren’t locked in a psychic battle for supremacy like the second-born. So here are some hints on how to parent any child like a third child.
Carry Them Around all the Time: My daughter got carried in the Baby Bjorn or sling everywhere because we were always on the go heaving her brothers around. There just wasn’t room for a stroller at every program or birthday party that we went to. Needless to say while she was being carried, we didn’t pay too much attention to her.
Don’t Make Your Schedule About Them: I remember when naptime meant my husband I could have a nap too. But with child number three the world does not come to a peaceful standstill when it is naptime. Nope, she caught her naps in the car, the carrier and the stroller. She didn’t rule the schedule as a baby and now she is not King of the house (hear that son number one?)
Don’t Over-Program: As a music teacher once told me: First children get Kindermusik, second kids get Parks and Rec and third children get the grocery store. My daughter goes to programs but they have to work into the schedule of a busy family so she also has lots of playdates and yes, the grocery store.
Have a Mix of Toys: With first children you tend to buy the toys that they seem most interested in, which can mean a narrow scope. But when our daughter came along we had a huge mix of toys to which we have added some of her favourites. This means that Baby Doll is often a Baby Ninja and can have a pretty awesome light saber fights.
Don’t Cater to Their Every Whim: Who has the time?
Leave Them with Other Kids: Yes, my daughter plays with 10 year old boys. Since she was a baby she has been surrounded by older kids and lots of them. Sometimes I even leave her in the basement with a bunch of kids while I run upstairs. She survives, no she thrives.
Let Them Fight Their Own Battles: Third children can hold their own when faced with an angry older sibling.
Watch Them Achieve Milestones: My third child is the one in kindergarten who can button and zip her own coat, put on her own shoes and she is on her way to tying a bow at the age of four. She learned how to ride a two-wheeler in about 2 minutes and she is learning to read. I just wish she could teach her brothers some of the stuff she knows.
It can all be boiled down to: Don’t over think! Now if only I could apply that advice to my first-born.