Bringing home a newborn baby is a joyous occasion for the parents, but what about for your other children? Sibling rivalry and jealousy is common when introducing a new brother or sister into the family. Children age two to six are most likely to go through these emotions. Your goal should be to carefully transition and prepare your children for the arrival of a newborn. That way, they are comfortable with the changes that come along with it.
To help you through this process, here are some helpful tips to prepare your child for the arrival of their new sister or brother.
The best time to get children acquainted with the new baby is during pregnancy. Involve them in the entire process from beginning to end. You can make the process fun by letting them feel your belly and see ultrasound photos. Explain how the baby is growing and even let them help with preparation. This can include sorting through their old toys and clothes or shopping for new items.
Delicately discuss how things will change at home with the newborn, emphasizing how important their new role as an older brother or sister will be. Explain the new routines and how much attention the new baby will require. You can even add these changes into their routine before your newborn arrives.
Pulling out old photo albums with pictures of when they were younger may also help. You can tell your child stories about when they were born and share about how much attention you showed them.
Bringing a new sibling home
It’s always a good idea to allow your first child to visit you while in the hospital so they can see their new baby sister or brother. This should be a time of celebration, so make sure to keep your eldest one happy, while still giving proper attention to your newborn.
First impressions matter. When you enter your house for the first time with your newborn, make sure to greet your other child first. You can even treat them to a gift from the newborn. Ask all visitors to pay extra attention to your first born so you do not feel overwhelmed juggling the needs of the new baby and your eldest one.
A few months in
Don’t be surprised if your oldest becomes jealous after a few months and begins to act out. If you believe your child is having temper tantrums for attention, talk to them about their behavior and ask them about why they are acting out. Encourage your child to talk about how they feel about their new sibling.
It is also a good idea to start allowing them to do things they couldn’t before the birth of their new brother or sister. This allows them to see that the new baby has come with new privileges.
In addition to these tips, you can also read books pertaining to this area.
To schedule an appointment, visit us online or call Family First Pediatrics.
Photo courtesy of Kurt Knock / Flickr Creative Commons