Bringing a new baby into the household is an exciting time. You’re growing your family and it may seem like there is nothing like a new baby that would bring a family closer. But when a new baby is introduced, the older siblings may not have such a welcoming response as you wish they did.
They are used to having you all to themselves, so the thought of having to share some of that attention may not be ideal. Before the baby makes their big debut, here are a few simple tips that may help the transition a bit easier for their new big brother or sister.
Read all about it. Anytime there is a new transition or event is coming into your little one’s life, give them a glimpse into what it may be like. By reading them a book about becoming an older sister or brother, you are giving them a sense of what to expect. There are also some great DVDs out there that can be fun for them to watch as well.
Involve them. Have them help you get the nursery ready by putting away clothes or making a special drawing to be framed and put up on their wall. When they feel like they are just as much a part of this new and exciting change, the more they will feel a sense of responsibility of being the older sibling and take great pride in it. Always refer to the baby as “our” baby or “your” baby sister or brother.
Spend time with them. When you bring home the baby for the first time, make sure that you try to set aside for some small time to spend with your child right away. You may have been away from them for a while since you’ve been in the hospital and they miss you understandably. Be sure that they know how much they have been missed too. When things calm down for a bit and you can be away from the new baby for a couple hours, make some time one on one time for your older child. This can be as simple as getting some ice cream.
Make them your special helper. When you are all at home with the baby, make sure you are fostering their pride at being your special helper. You can do this either by having a baby doll for them so that they can mimic the tasks of taking care of a baby. You can also have them help feed the baby or maybe help put lotion on their new little siblings legs. Be sure to be always looking for opportunities where the older sibling can help out.
Get friends/family to visit older siblings. Getting help from family and friends, bringing over some prepared meals and maybe helping with the older kids will also help make sure you can get some alone time with baby, but also show the other kids that they are still important, and people want to hang out with them as well. This can be so tough for younger ones, especially if they’ve been the baby for a while and in comes a new little one.
If you don’t have any older children the transition from single couple to a new family can also be tough – be sure to keep up communication with your partner, share duties and when baby is napping, make some time for yourselves together too! A quick bite to eat, a quiet tv show together – whatever you can do just the two of you while your little one naps will be helpful and soothing to you both!
Change can be difficult especially when it involves welcoming a new addition, what are some ways you have found to make that transition easier?
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.