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Becoming ‘big sister’: How being a first-born daughter develops leadership in girls

Worried about your little girl becoming a big sister? Fear not, mama. She is going to thrive.

Becoming ‘big
sister’: How being a first-born daughter develops leadership in girls

Authors Lisette Schuitemaker and Wies Enthoven have spent years researching the inner-workings of first-born daughters.

We had the chance to catch up with Lisette and Wies to find out more about The Eldest Daughter Effect and how first-born daughters grow up to become "big sisters"... and so much more.

Based on your book, it seems as though many, if not most, first-born daughters grow into responsible, dutiful, thoughtful, expeditious, and caring big sisters. What factors lead to the development of these characteristics in eldest daughters?

Just imagine for a moment the only child. Her mother dotes on her. Her father, she wraps around her little finger. She is the sun all planets, grandparents included, revolve around. All is well in her world.

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Then danger looms on the horizon when her mother cannot lift her anymore and her father talks about a new baby soon to make a debut.

They make it sound like a joyous and exciting time so their first-born daughter is soothed. But once baby number two is on the scene, her world is changed beyond recognition.

No longer is she the center of the universe as now another child is cradled on her mother's lap. A baby that needs so much time and attention that she, the eldest daughter, needs to re-evaluate her position within the family constellation.

One eldest daughter we spoke with said her mother often told her the story of how she had set her younger sister in a wastepaper basket after a few weeks. 'So! Now it can be all about me again,' is how her mother had interpreted her act.

Psychologists confirm that, however close siblings may become, the reconfiguration of the family comes as a shock to the first child, as shown by many unexpected changes in the older child's behavior.

So, what are a few of these behavioral changes?

Speaking generally, many girls tend to adapt. They figure out how they should act so they stand the best chance of still being loved and appreciated. They become the good girl. Eager to help their parents, they develop an eye for what needs to happen and then they make sure they can do it.

They take responsibility, first for themselves—'Don't worry, mama, I can dress myself,' and then for their siblings— 'Don't worry, mama, I will look out for them.'

Taking responsibility, being diligent and dutiful, thus becomes second nature.

Caring for others makes these girls into practical, hands-on individuals. They may not be the life and soul of the party, but they grow up to be thoughtful women who take themselves, others, and life seriously.

They are the ones, like Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, Nicola Sturgeon, and Christine Lagarde, who take responsibility.

They are the ones who, like Beyonce, Arianna Huffington, and Oprah Winfrey, have a message to tell the world and are able to build the platform to deliver it.

The day a single child becomes an eldest daughter is a defining moment that sets girls on the course to become the responsible, dutiful, hands-on, thoughtful, and caring women everyone counts on.

This article was co-written by Wies Enthoven and Lisette Schuitemaker.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

Thank you for understanding. ❤️

In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

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I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

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Life

It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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