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Double Duty

Ever notice how just as your baby gets hungry, your older child gets needy  -- for help with a toy, a snack, anything that requires your attention? Try these tactics:

Put your toddler's needs first. Set out a snack and drink and say, "Pick one more thing you want before I feed the baby." If your baby can wait a minute, your older child will whine less.

Let her entertain you. Ask for a song, a dance, her best imitation of a monkey, anything she can show off while you sit still.

Play hide-and-seek. She hides a few objects around the house, and you seek them later. Or stash a few things before you get started, so she can hunt while you get your baby fed.

Change your surroundings. Set her in a dry bathtub with washable paints or shaving cream and sit nearby, or let her splash in the kitchen sink with suds, bowls, and measuring cups.

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