Birth Order and Personality Types

Nannies and Au Pairs Can End Birth Order Stereotypes

Birth order does seem to affect personality traits in siblings. But you can end these stereotypes when working with your charges.

Parents often have high expectations for firstborns. Firstborns often are eager to please their parents, have high expectations for themselves, are conscientious, and perfectionists. Sometimes they put too much responsibility on themselves and grow up too quickly. Nannies and au pairs can end these stereotypes by trying not to expect too much from the firstborn. Nurture their playful side. Don’t place all of your attention on their external accomplishments. Let them know how much you appreciate them simply for being themselves.

The middle child often doesn’t get as much attention from the parents or caregivers as the oldest child did simply because there are two children to care for instead of one. Rather than fade into the background middle children tend to become very social and independent. To end this stereotype nannies and au pairs should make sure not to let the middle child feel overlooked. Make sure to give them extra attention. Play games or have one-on-one chats to give them some of the attention they crave.

By the time the youngest child is born the parents are more relaxed with their parenting style. While the youngest child may feel they are living in the shadow of their other siblings they actually get much attention for being the adorable and charming one. With the added attention the youngest siblings are often irresponsible. Au pairs and nannies can do the youngest child a favor by not treating them like “the baby.” Give them age-appropriate tasks and help them set age appropriate goals.

End these social stereotypes and help each of your charges develop to their best potential.

Have you had issues with birth order stereotypes with siblings?


  1. Sibling rivalry is such a huge issue with the kids I care for now. All I seem to hear, “It’s not fair!” Of course it isn’t: the kids are different ages!! The older child actually gets away with so much because he constantly complains that he to make his bed when the toddler doesn’t?? He even complains his homework takes longer. Duh, you are older!! But the most important thing is everyone seems to be comparing the two siblings. We must not compare!!The older one is the “perfect” child while the younger one is having more issues in school and socially (but she’s still an awesome kid)!!!Encourage their strengths whatever they may be! Each child is an individual and has separate gifts! Stop comparing!!!Nanny Jenny, Boston, MA

  2. I find this a bigger issue with the parents not treating their childen the same. But at the same time there are so many articles about treating siblings equally and fairly when in fact I find it is very difficult to really know if you are treating them equally and fairly. I mean the older child does need more responsiblity because she or he is older and must be treated as more mature. I think as aupairs and nannies we just have to try really hard to spend as much time as possible with each child and praising all the children equally. It’s easy to punish but we just have to make an effort to praise all the siblings equally. If we make the effort than that is about as much as we can do.AuPair Maria T. in Chicago

  3. I think if we are simply conscious of this it will help. In the family I work for the kids aren’t jealous at all. They are warm and kind.

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