We have 2 daughters - a 4 year old and a 1 year old. Our 4 year old daughter will not leave our 1 year old daughter alone. It is nothing malicious or intentionally mean, but it feels like we should be protecting the younger one. I actually believe the older one is doing it because she loves the younger one so much.
Overwhelming the 1 year old with toys. The older one will bring the younger one a toy. The younger one starts playing with it, and 5 seconds later the older one will take the toy away and give a her a new toy to play with. This goes on until we tell the older one that it was nice she gave her sister a toy, but she should just let her play with one toy. The older one is doing it to be nice.
Hugging for too long. The older one loves to give the younger one hugs, and the younger one is fine with a quick hug, but the older one wants to hug for 5 seconds or more. After a 1-2 seconds the younger one starts screaming because she wants to go play. The older one is hugging her because she loves her, but we can't get it through her head to do a light, quick hug and then let her go.
Getting in her face. When the older one wants to talk to the younger one, she will get 2 inches from her face. She wants to put her hands on her cheeks and talk to her. The younger one hates it (who enjoys having someone talk to you a couple inches away).
There are a few other things like this, and these things happen many times a day. I honestly believe her intentions are good.
We always tell the older one that it is sweet that she loves her sister so much, but that she needs to give her some space. This has been going on for a few months, and I'm not sure we are going about it the right way.
We have tried gently demonstrating to the older one how hugging for too long or constantly replacing toys is not fun for the receiver (the 4 year old hates it when someone does it to her, but she just can't associate it with her sister).
We don't want to get after the older one all day long (like watching a sporting event when the refs blow the whistle every few seconds - just let them play!), but at the same time it doesn't feel fair to the younger one - or maybe that's just part of being a younger sibling?
Does anyone have ideas of things to tell our older daughter or ways to teach her to give her sister some space? Or should we just leave them alone and let the younger one learn to fend for herself?
Thanks in advance!