Imagine if you had been getting non-stop attention from your spouse, and suddenly they are less attentive. You would probably be unhappy, angry, confused, and might even act out. You’re an adult, so imagine how your little one feels with a new sibling. There are tips and necessary dynamics involved in helping your first born adjust to a new sibling.
Shortly after you know there will be a second baby, start talking about it with your little one. If you have decided on a name, use it every time and talk about “Baby Millie” or “Baby David” coming.
Discuss how they can help you get ready. Give your child concrete things to do, like help you pick out nursery colors or go shopping for clothes. Include your child in talks with the new baby. Explain that “Baby Millie” will be his or her little sister.
Talk About What Will Happen When “Baby David” Is Born
The more your child understands about what’s going to happen, the less anxious he or she will be. Explain you will go to the hospital for the birth and be gone just a few days. Then they can come to the hospital to see their new little brother or sister.
Ask Friends And Relatives To Be Sensitive
Ask them to bring an inexpensive gift for big brother or big sister when they bring a gift for the new baby. It would be helpful if they give him/her lots of attention before and after the birth.
Plan A Celebration
With the arrival of the new baby, plan a special celebration where the older sibling is the center of attention. Give gifts that highlight her/his new status as a big sibling.
Encourage Loving Communication
Allow your first born to gently touch and even hold their new brother or sister. He/she can introduce themself and say how happy he/she is to have a new sibling.
Always stay at your child’s side whenever he/she is holding the baby. Encourage soft touches and gentle manners with the baby. Explain how they are not used to any rough play.
Give Individual Attention
Find time every day to give your older child some undivided attention. Pick a special time so they will look forward to their time alone with you.
Don’t Overreact To Misbehavior
You may find the older sibling will act out to get your attention. Sometimes it’s best to ignore it at first. ALWAYS praise him/her for being gentle with the new baby or helping out. Any chance you can praise good behavior will only encourage the positive behavior you want.
It may seem impossible to care for two children and give them both the undivided attention and care they need, but you will get there. Give it time and continue to encourage the older child’s participation whenever you can. They will eventually know they are as important as the new baby and are an important part of the family.
Contact Pediatric Associates, Inc. if you need help. Adjusting to a new member of the family takes time and patience.