Being an older brother or sister can be tough. Having spent their whole life so far being used to the undivided attention you give them, it can be difficult coming to terms with having to share that with someone else. This interloper may be your child’s new closest relative, but they may not be too sure about the new baby just yet. Your child might be thinking ‘why are they taking up so much of mum and dad’s time? What about me?!’
As parents we’re all aware that it can be tricky bringing a new sibling into the family. Of course, your existing little ones are likely to be wary and potentially envious. But after a little time and encouragement most siblings end up embracing life with their new brother or sister. Of course, there are a few things you can do to ease this transition. Here’s our guide to introducing a new sibling to your child.
Things to do before the new baby arrives:
– One really important thing you can do while pregnant with your second (or third, or fourth) child is to plan and prepare as much as you can. The more you do before the birth the more time you’ll have soothing both the newborn and your existing children and helping their relationship to blossom. For example get all the basic, admin-y parts of parenting sorted like setting up a nursery, having the right equipment to hand etc. If you need info or guidance on things like how to sterilize baby bottles then have a look at the useful resources online. Indeed you can click here for tips on how to sterilize baby bottles and other handy help.
– Talk to your child! This is a really important one as a bit of warning goes a long way when it comes to new babies. Involve your child in the pregnancy, explain to them what it’ll be like when their new sister/brother comes along. Empathise with them that they might feel a bit jealous and that’s completely normal.
– Early involvement is a great way to get your child used to the idea of a new family member, and you can get them to help make decisions before he baby arrives. Simple things from choosing the baby’s first toy or nursery accessories. You never know, perhaps your soon-to-be eldest might have some lovely baby names at the ready.
Things to do after the new baby arrives:
Once the new baby has arrived it’s important to continue this ethos of inclusion. By getting siblings to help out, children are likely to feel part of the family change rather than an adjunct to it. You can even get your child to help feed the new little one, once you’ve readied and sterilized the baby bottles and prepped the milk of course! This kind of involvement will make your children feel like they too are there to help with and care for the new addition to the family, rather than fueling any sibling rivalry. Here are some other ways you can get your kids involved with the new baby:
– Choosing the baby’s clothes for the day
– Letting them hold the baby (if they’re old enough)
– Getting them to try and make the baby laugh/supervised playtime with the baby
Blog article by Katherine Mosquera, London