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Keep away 'middle child syndrome'

For those who are the middle child in your family, you will be pleased to know that August 12 is National Middle Child Day and has been since the 1980s. It is a day set aside to celebrate those special middle children, who some say have a tendency to develop what is known as the "middle child syndrome." This supposed syndrome stems from the idea that in families with three children, the middle children can develop feelings of neglect or feel overshadowed by their older and younger siblings. To combat this, here are some helpful suggestions on how to interact with your middle child:

  • Encourage open communication: While you may not think they are feeling this way, broadening the lines of communication and ensuring your children that you are happy to listen to their needs and feelings is a great way to let them know that you are there for them. You can't read minds, but you can try to be available.
  • Cut down on the hand-me-downs: While it is wise to pass down some clothing or other items to save money and not be wasteful, try not to only provide them with second-hand things. People want to feel ownership regarding their items, so buying them key items, like coat or a fun pair of shoes, could make them feel acknowledged and special. 
  • Reassure your children: One major takeaway is that it is best to reassure all of your children of their importance and value to you. Just treating your children equally and being proud of all of their varying degrees of accomplishments is a sure way to keep this sibling "syndrome" at bay.

If you are an early childhood education professional, contact ProSolutions Training, or visit our website, to learn about our online child care training.