For some siblings having a new baby in their family and home does not just mean that they have someone else to share their Mom and Dad’s attention with; there is most likely to be changes to the routine that you created specific revolving around them and their days, there will also be changes made to the physical space of that was once all their own space. To top it all off, their parents will very likely be tired and considerably stressed or overwhelmingly sensitive or even emotional to the whole change for them as well.
With these changes comes the fact that this will also be a time at learning what it will mean to understand what is involved in their older child’s new role as a ‘big’ Sister or Brother. In this article, you will be given 10 ways on how to help your older child or children from feeling or being jealous of the new baby.
10 Ways To Help Your Older Child
With these strategies, you will be able to help your child to adjust to having a sibling with ease and understanding that he or she is just as loved as he or she ever was before his or her new Brother or Sister arrived; if not more now than ever.
1. Read Or Play Together
Stories and games have a way to making your older child or children from feeling like the baby is getting all of the attention; though he or she is getting a majority of your time is being given to the new baby. Games can include anything from a simple board game that can be set up on a small table next to the couch to imaginative story telling featuring the beloved fairy tales and nursery rhythms that your older child or children can snuggle up to you while you recite their favorite stories.
2. Create Special Spaces
There are times when you need to tend to your new baby but still wish to give your older child or children the attention they need. To meet both needs, you can create special spaces that will allow you to be in the same space as your older child or children while tending to your new baby’s needs. Many parents have a play room for their children to play and mess up versus playing all over the house and creating an even bigger mess; in this room you can place a couch or smaller settee to allow you to be present even while you are tending to the baby. This will create the atmosphere that you want to allow for a peaceful home to combat any feelings of jealousy for your older child or children.
3. Spend Time Together Outdoors
Everyone knows that people; children in particular, need to spend a generous amount of time outdoors. There are numerous things that you can do with both your older child or children and baby outdoors. This can include sitting outside drawing little pictures on the sidewalk with some chalk or going for a small walk altogether. Depending on the time of year and weather out, you can create little games like playing Eye Spy or a little scavenger hunt around the neighborhood that you can do together.
4. Involve Them
Bringing a new baby into your home and family is a very big change for everyone but no one more than your older child or children. In nearly everything that will be done to prepare the home for the new baby before he or she is born and comes home, you want to involve your older child or children into these changes; and of course when the baby comes. There is so much to do before the baby arrives and when the baby arrives; have your older child or children do what they can to feel involved in the process. The more important they feel throughout this time and in the time that they get used to having a new sibling, the more the transition will be not as stressful and they will not feel jealous of anything done for the baby.
5. Praise Them
Children love getting praises, even for the smallest of things; and bringing a new baby into the house is just the situation that your older child or children should be praised. From helping you pick out clothes for the baby to wear for the day or grabbing diaper and the wipes from the diaper bag while out and about and the baby needs a diaper changed to helping clean up after dinner while Mommy feeds the baby; there are numerous instances that will allow for you to encourage your older child or children to be involved and praised for the big help they gave Mommy and or Daddy. With positive reinforcement, your older child or children will feel the love you have for them.
6. Take Advantage Of The Offers Of Help
Many times you will find that you need help from others and in those times you will remember that others, like family and friends, have given you offers of help when you need it most. For example, if your new baby develops an illness and needs your undivided attention and your older child or children are left to entertain their self or have to count on you less than normal, this is your time to call on others to help you. This might mean having your sister or brother come over and take your older child or children for a few days so that they get the attention that they need that you are unable to give. While this can be difficult to do, take advantage of the offers you have been given to help; this will allow you to give your attention to the baby without the feeling of regret and your older child or children will not run the risk of getting sick as well.
7. Give Undivided Attention Whenever Possible
With even the smallest increments of time you can make all the difference in your older child or children’s life; this is especially for those times that you are able to give them your all to themselves. You should say yes to a play date together or taking time to just to something fund like making and sharing some yummy cookies together.
8. Make A Fuss Over Them
I do not know not one person who does not like to have a fuss made over them; everyone enjoys it! When a new baby comes into your home and life, a toddler or older child will sometimes feel lost in the busy chaos of visits and gifts being doted on their Mommy and new sibling. If you can, encourage your guests to make a point to say hi to your older child before they rush to see you and the baby. Also, when you know that your child will see gifts being given to you and the baby, make a point to get him or her a special gift that will make them feel special at the same time.
9. Be Realistic
When you are expecting a new baby, there is a big potential for your family and friends to be excited to tell your older child or children that they will soon be a big Brother or Sister; they may even recount the fun times that were spent with their siblings as a child in an effort to help them realize that they will have the same experience with their baby Brother or Sister. While this is the ideal way to help your child understand what changes will come with a new baby, they may not fully grasp it; which means you want to take the time to personally speak with your first born or older children and ensure that the new baby is a good thing and that you love both them and the new baby equally. You have to be realistic to what is changing, what will change, and what you need to do to help your child or children be okay with it all.
10. Tell Them
Above all things, you should just tell them how much you love them and appreciate them. While most people know this on a level that they understand, children are completely different to this and need to hear it as well as be shown how much they are loved.
While you may find one of these tips above is much more useful than another, you are encourage to do what you can to make the new baby feel welcomed as well as allow your older child or children feel just as loved and a part more than ever before. Whatever will work best for your family is dependent completely on the individual as well as the personal circumstances, and the age of your children.