Games to Help Your Older Child Feel Special

After a new sibling has arrived, an older child’s feelings will be both large with love and wonder, and tight with upset about their sibling’s intrusion into their relationship and time with you. One of the more fruitful ways to handle this is to find a way to play “I want you!” games with your older child as often as possible.

“I want you!” games come in a hundred variations. Here are some of them.

“A hundred kisses”

You could begin by getting down on the floor and announcing, “I have a hundred kisses for you! Where shall I start?!” and crawling awkwardly toward your child. You can make great efforts to get them and cuddle them, and then they can wriggle away and dance just out of reach, laughing while you try to deliver your kisses.

“Where’s my kid?”

Another “I want you!” game is to announce, “Where’s Sam!? I have to find Sam! I’m lonesome for Sam!” and to search all around (even though Sam is in plain sight) until you discover him and scoop him up in your arms for lots of cuddles.


In this game, the play can be set up with both parents, one parent playfully pulling the child toward them and saying, “I want to play with Sam!” and the other pulling him back and saying, “No, you can’t have him! I haven’t had enough of him yet today!” If this playful tug-of-war brings laughter, keep playing! It fills up a child’s hunger for attention and importance.

Hold them like a baby

Holding your older child like a baby, and appreciating their fingers, toes, perfect ears, and beautiful eyes is another kind of sweet play that reassures a child that their uniqueness hasn’t been forgotten.

The laughter your child does while you playfully show them that you can’t live without them heals some of the hurt of seeing you attending to the other child so often and so lovingly. And it gives you a delightful way to openly appreciate your older child.

Special Time will also help you center your attention on your older child at regular intervals during the week, helping both them and you to plump up your relationship and remember the love you have for each other.

This article is part of our “Ultimate Sibling Rivalry Survival Guide” which is FREE to download here.

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