A new baby in the house can be a huge change for everyone. Schedules get rearranged, Mom and Dad are sleepier than usual, and attention gets diverted to the squeaky wheel, or in this case the crying baby. A newborn can be a challenge for everyone, but for older siblings it can be especially trying. They have to sort through all these new emotions and while most days they are excited and happy to share their parents with their new sibling, other times they can feel jealous and resentful of the new bundle of joy whom they might feel is stealing the show.
It’s important to show and share your love with everyone in the home, but make sure you are taking time to let your other children know they still hold a special place in your heart. It’s hard for them to grasp that there is enough love to go around, especially if they were an only child, but these few tips have helped make the transition easier for all of us.
1. Include them in tasks that help the baby. It’s important that your older child knows you need their help too. Encourage them to help hold, feed and change the baby. Let them know how helpful they are and how much you and the baby appreciate it, and that you couldn’t do it without their help
2. Give them some one on one time every once in a while. While much of your attention is on the new baby don’t forget to make time for your older child. Take them to a movie or out to lunch while mom and baby are sleeping to give them (and you) a break and some quality time. Enjoy a coffee shop date or some time at the park. Let them know how much you cherish your time together.
3. Engage in family activities. Outing can allow your older child to share some of their favorite things like movies, parks, playgrounds etc with their new sibling. The greatest part about a new addition is to share all your family favorites with them. Let your older child pick out one of their favorite movies and have a movie night. They will delight in sharing their interest with their new addition. Take a family walk and let your older child push the stroller, narrating the scenery around you. The possibilities are endless.
4. Let them do their own thing every once in a while. We all need a little space and this is a great time to encourage independence in your older child. They don’t have to be involved in every aspect of the new baby’s day. Allow your child some space, let them sing or dance in their room, read a book, draw, and just learn to enjoy some alone time. Give them space and time to adjust to the new baby.
5. Share with them the advantages an older sibling receives. Later bedtimes, cooler clothes, tasty desserts, more mature television programs and music, more relaxed rules, privilege, freedoms and so on. Being an older sibling has its advantages and baby doesn’t always come first in every situation.
Transitioning can be tough, but we all get through it. As long as we let our little ones know there is room for all of them in our hearts, they will be just fine.