Starting school :: Dealing with older siblings

img_9422“But he took my place, school is mine and he took it”

Sigh. Toby started “big boy school” (primary) this week, and I have been all a flutter wondering how he will fare, what his little mind and body will take in the new routine and making sure that he enjoys himself without the anxiety that often envelopes me in new situations.

I haven’t even really considered Reuben. Shit.

Reuben’s attitude when he’s been picked up from school has been diabolical. The first day I collected the boys and it was like someone had injected the child with red bull. He was crazy, shouting at his little friends as we walked down to the car because they had a football card folder and he wasn’t allowed to bring his, screaming at me and threatening to throw things at me because I refused to let him sit in the front of the car without a car seat and just generally behaving in a way that, honestly, he’s not behaved before. So why?

Well it’s quite simple really, he feels like he’s been usurped. School was exclusively his, something he didn’t share with anyone in the family and now… he has a sibling… in the same class. Ouch.

If you think about it, Reuben shares a room with Toby. He shares a sister with Toby. Shares toys, parents, grandparents, the pets, TV and even sometimes food (though very infrequently – I’ve been known to stab a fork at my husband for trying to “share” with me so I’m not too pushy on that front). It makes sense that when he found something exclusively for him, something that didn’t involve the rest of the family, he would take it and run with it. Have a sense of pride in it. And then poof, like the last spring roll on take out night, it’s not there anymore.

As Reuben and Toby are close in age they are in the same classroom, and Toby has already told me that he tries to play with Reuben sometimes but to no avail. Fortunately there haven’t been any ructions at school (yet) and both boys seem to have send each other off in opposite directions from the gates, play with their own friends and get on with it all. But when that bell rings and it’s time to come home and spend even more time together, that is when it spills forward for Roo. So what to do?

Well short of selling one of them (which is illegal, eBay simply won’t allow it) we are trying to think of alternatives to still allow Reuben to feel like he is the “big boy” in the house. So far, we’ve been having a Friday night movie night with him. After his brother and sister go to bed at 7pm, he is allow d to sneak back downstairs and watch a movie with mummy and daddy until late. It seems to be working, and persuading him that he has to behave throughout the week and go to bed on time, not beat his siblings or drop an f-bomb etc (you know, the usual) in order to “earn the tread. We’ll keep plugging away at it, but I can honestly say in all my flapping over Toby’s nerves and my own upset at seeing my “baby boy” go to big school, I really forgot someone important.

My big boy. Who is still only 5. Still needs reminding he’s special and is still trying to navigate his world without a true understanding of how to.

Did you find this? Any tips?

H x


  1. Avatar April 1, 2017 / 6:07 am

    I have been so lucky, my eldest 2 are so excited to be at school but the little one is super jealous and very disappointed that he has to wait another 2 years to go to school!

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    January 12, 2017 / 11:31 pm

    my bro and i was closer in age and we didnt have any issues in school. I’m also the eldest and didn’t go through the things reuben is going through now. In the end, he’s got to learn and get use to the idea. it’ll definitely take him some time to get use to it, just be patient

  3. Avatar January 12, 2017 / 1:03 pm

    This is a really interesting read. My brother is five years younger than me, so I didn’t really feel much of this as I’d already left the school once he started. However, I can definitely see how it can impact on the older child if they’re close in age. Good luck making Reuben feel better about things!

  4. Avatar January 12, 2017 / 12:10 pm

    Sounds like a tough situation to be in, but I think you allowing him to have a treat night with you on a Friday is a great way for him to feel special x

    • Harriet January 12, 2017 / 1:09 pm

      Thanks – I hope it makes him smile ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Avatar January 12, 2017 / 11:18 am

    Oh bless him, my fella’s sister thought this would happen to her with her two lads. It actually somehow went the other way. The eldest became super protective over his little brother – which actually cause even more issues!

    • Harriet January 12, 2017 / 1:13 pm

      Oh no! I bet it would!

  6. Avatar January 12, 2017 / 10:32 am

    I would never have thought about the older sibling either, but it makes sense that he’d feel upset with having someone take over his special school time x

    • Harriet January 12, 2017 / 1:13 pm

      I think that’s it, it’s the replacement thing!

  7. Avatar January 12, 2017 / 10:16 am

    My sister has this with my Nephew he is alot older than his twin brothers and whilst he will always be her baby she is struggling with allowing him to grow up but still be the small person who needs a hug x

  8. Avatar
    January 11, 2017 / 11:36 pm

    I bet this is really awkward when it happens. I don’t have any brothers or sisters, so i never really had this problem

    • Harriet January 12, 2017 / 1:26 pm

      I think it can be!

  9. Avatar January 11, 2017 / 10:28 pm

    Awww bless, I can not remember my reaction when my brother joined my school but I remember I was mean whilst at nursery but protector at primary. I am sure the kids will adjust just fine and will enjoy being in same class.

  10. Avatar January 11, 2017 / 8:40 pm

    Lol I am not surprised that it wont let you sell them on ebay haha, it can be hard when you have kids that are close to each other in age. Hopefully things will settle once they are both used to the idea.

    • Harriet January 12, 2017 / 1:29 pm

      Ha, it wasn’t much of a shock Ana, but you gotta try.

  11. Avatar January 11, 2017 / 8:30 pm

    My brother and I have 13 years between us and we’ve never been to the same schools, so I’ve never experienced this. It’s kind of funny what goes through the kiddies heads sometimes ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Avatar January 11, 2017 / 8:16 pm

    It can be so difficult keeping different ages all happy at the same time. I have a big gap between my first three and my youngest, and I have found it very difficult to keep the balance right. I think your doing the right things, giving your big boy some time of his own to just remind him.

  13. Avatar January 11, 2017 / 7:52 pm

    Its so hard isnt it, we have this problem with ours too and having 6 it really does seem impossible to try and please them all at the same time ๐Ÿ™ You simply cant do different things with all of them depending on age as bedtime etc would start at 5 pm if i had to stagger it etc lol

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    January 11, 2017 / 9:41 am

    I hope his first week went well. I think it can be so overwhelming for them at first.

  15. Avatar January 11, 2017 / 6:47 am

    Gosh this must be hard work! We have the opposite, there are 4 years between my two and my eldest is gutted she has to wait so long before her little brother starts school! It sounds like you’re handling I really well and no doubt once everyone’s got used to it things will settle down.

    • Harriet January 12, 2017 / 1:41 pm

      Ahh that’s too cute!

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