There’s a new baby in town! And boy do their siblings have a thing or two to say about it! New babies are not just stressful for parents; older siblings have to deal with a huge change as well. The unpleasent realization that…surprise, surprise! They are not the king or queen of the house anymore!
This happens across the board, too. Generally if the age gap is bigger, the transition is easier, but there’s still a transition. In my case, my brother was ecstatic to have a new baby sister. His three-year-old self apparently burst into the hospital screaming “Where’s MY baby?” But, most of the times his is not usually the case, but there are ways to make this dramatic time a bit less of a buzzkill, (for everyone involved)
For starters, don’t wait until your new little one is born to help your soon-to-be older sibling come to terms. You can do a lot of things while still pregnant. First of all, let your kid get excited about the new baby in general. He might not do it naturally on his own, which is why you gotta turn it into “the biggest event ever, that HE can’t wait to experience”. Make it look like having a baby brother/sister is going to mean lots of promising and positive things in his life.
Show them pictures of them when they were babies and tell them stories about what they were like as babies. This helps them to get an idea of what to expect from the new sibling. How the baby going to look like and act around him. Make him see the baby as an ally, a companion, not a threat.
Getting your kid involved with preparations for birth is a great idea too. Even if it’s just helping Mommy pack or brainstorming names, big sister or brother will feel needed, and therefore more important.
Once you have your new child, the most important thing to do is make sure big sister or brother doesn’t feel left out. If there is another adult around, let them take care of baby while you do something with big sibling. Think about it this way: the baby needs only a few basic things and he’s all set, but your older children have a conscience, doubts, fears, jealousy. THEY are the ones who need extra attention with a side of love. And for dessert?: more attention.
Of course, it might be difficult to pawn baby off on someone else, but if you can use a sling or something that leaves your hands free, you can still do activities with your older child. At nursing time, let your older child come and join you in bed for some hugs and affection, or read them a story out loud. Just make sure your attention isn’t 100% focused on baby.
Remind your older child how important they are and how they help you and the rest of the family. Even exaggerate it up a bit. You can do this by telling them all the wonderful qualities they have. Giving them a specific job, making them the “to go guy” in the family when it comes to helping out with the new baby. He is going to feel responsible and important.
Turn him into your personal assistant, makes them feel included and proud to be helping in some way. It can be something as simple as putting them in charge of teaching baby something that they are good at themselves. Maybe they can help you prepare baby’s food or change diapers, anything to make them feel like they are needed.
Forming a bond with baby is essential to a lifelong sibling relationship. Turn those two into the best friends ever! Show him every time the baby smiles how it’s smiling over his little brother who is helping out so much around the house. Get them started early by letting your older sibling hold the newborn, but of course showing them how to do this safely.
Studies have shown that newborns release a cocktail of chemicals from their heads that stimulate feelings of wanting to love and protect them. If older brother or sister get a whiff of this early on and seal the bond with lots of cuddle time with baby, they will continue to become closer as they grow up together.
As you can see, it’s not too difficult to turn the “new baby syndrome” into a happy welcoming party for the new baby of the house. All the time we just saved you from worrying about these two, you can use it to take a much needed nap. And we know you need one!