Welcoming a new baby is always a very important time for the entire family. Ideally, it should make everyone even more happy and strengthen the bonds between the members of the family. However, siblings often need time to adjust to the newest member of the family. Here are some tips for helping older siblings cope with the new baby. With the right introduction to the idea of a new sibling and a little preparation, things should go very smoothly.
Tips For Helping Siblings Adjust To New Baby
Natural Resistance To A New Baby Sibling
As parents, you are probably super excited about having another baby. The youngest family members might not see things in the same way that you do and that is natural. Young children and even older kids may have many fears, feelings of anxiety, and questions about the arrival of a new baby.
What is going to be my life like with a new baby brother or sister? Is my mom still going to pay as much attention to me? Will anyone really care about me any more once I am a second child? Will the new baby steal all the attention and love?
It is important to consider things from their perspective and validate their feelings while calming their fears. Giving the older siblings the chance to ask questions is a great way to help them cope with new baby coming. A little reassurance will go along way to helping easy their fears so they can accept the new baby. After all, an only child will experience big changes when the younger sibling arrives. It is important for everyone to be prepared.
Helping Older Child Adjust To New Baby
Your child is going to have to get used to the idea of being a big sibling. They will likely like the idea of having someone to play with and being the “big kid”. However, younger children may have some negative feelings too. Let them process the information at their speed and ask questions as they come up.
Encourage the oldest child to talk about their feelings and let them ask questions. Most of all, offer them reassurance. Even though things may change a bit, you will love and care about them and that will never change. I wrote a journal for older siblings that you may find helpful. It allows the opportunity for kids to know what to expect and be reassured. It makes a great gift for when you tell your older child about the new baby. The interactive journal will help prepare your first child for the new arrival and help prevent any feelings of jealousy. It reassures kids that there is enough love and encourages a good relationship with the newborn baby.
Before the Baby Is Born
Preparation should start even before the baby is actually born. It is helpful to talk to older siblings about what to expect. Talk with your children about how life will look like with the new baby as part of the family. Keep the focus on the positive things.
Let them know about all the fun things they can help with- like singing to the baby, or telling the baby stories. Tell the older sibling about the games they will be able to play with their new baby sibling. As he or she gets old enough for games like peek a boo they will become a more active part of the family. Encourage them to think how fun it is going to be growing up with a brother or sister. Share a few funny stories about your own sibling childhood experiences. Encourage them to be excited about being the important role of being a big sibling!
How To Welcome A New Baby In The Family
The crucial phase is, of course, the welcoming of the baby. Even though your focus may be on the baby the day it arrives, make the sibling a focus too, even if just for a bit. Make a big deal introducing the baby to the older sibling. Even though the baby doesn’t understand what you say in the introduction, the big sibling will. When you say, “This is your awesome big sister,” she will get the message loud and clear.
You may even want to try having the baby bring a small gift for the siblings. My daughter loved the idea that her little brother had brought something for her because he was excited to have a big sister.
It might be hard for the parents to divide their attention between two or more children, but trying is what counts! If mothers and fathers to do their best to work together they can make sure that the older sibling is not feeling neglected early on. Communication is also very important. Let your older children understand that you might not be able to give them as much time in the early days. Reassure them that things will soon return to normal. Emphasize that you love them equally and you are always there to talk if they want to talk about their feelings.
The Later Days
You can do special activities all together like read books or take walks. After a while, all of your children should start feeling comfortable enough around the new family member. You might even want to start showing them how to take care of the new baby. Of course, you certainly cannot hand any important duties over to them and you will always have to be around to make sure that nothing unexpected will happen, but it makes great sibling bonding time. You will be paying attention to everyone in the family, which should lead to the strengthening of the family bonds as well.
As you can see, there are plenty of things that parents can do for helping older siblings cope with the new baby. Ideally, the entire process should start even before the baby is born – but it most definitely should not end there. The most crucial phase comes in the preparation and then in first few days after actually welcoming the baby at home. After that, it should all become very natural. Family relationships are going to be strengthened with your children as you talk through things together. It always heartwarming to see older siblings accepting their new siblings with joy.