There is no way to adequately describe having a newborn in the home. It is humbling and thrilling.
It can also be hard on older siblings who feel their world has just been turned upside down. A sense of jealousy, resentment, and even a little anger is normal.
Siblings are worried there won't be enough love for them with a new baby around.
This is one of my favorite pictures. Ever.
There are a few things that you can do to help create a smoother transition for your family and your new bundle of joy.
*Emphasis The "Big Sibling" Role*
Talk to your children about why they will be such great big sisters and brothers. Be realistic. Getting your son excited about things the baby can't do until he is 4 will create false hopes.
*Talk About What Won't Change*
It is obvious to you and your spouse that things will change when the baby comes. Around your other children, try to emphasis what will stay the same. This will give your children a sense of security. Remember, children like predictability. If they think the new baby will make everything "different" they won't be very excited for the new addition.
*Let Your Child/Children Help Make Decisions*
These can be little decisions like paint colors for the nursery, new clothes to hang in the closet, or what pictures to put on the wall. You can even have your children create artwork and then frame it for the babies room. I have a few friends who let their kids help choose the baby's name. One family I know let their kids choose the middle name of the new baby. What ever it is, involve siblings in making meaningful decisions when preparing for the baby. When kids make decisions, they feel ownership and they feel included.
Want a fun way to include your children when you have a new baby? Give each of them their own disposable camera and ask them to be the photographers. They will feel important and have fun taking pictures at the hospital and when you bring the baby home. When you develop the pictures you never know what you will find.
Once you bring the baby home....
*Control the Excessive Celebration*
Naturally you will be excited for your new addition but cootchy-cooing all. the. time when older siblings are around will make them feel left out. Not to mention, they will start to resent the new baby. Be sure you continue to pay attention to your other children and ask grandparents, friends and family to do the same. When we had our third baby, a good friend stopped by with dinner and to see the baby. She also brought little treats for our other two children. It was such a nice gesture and made them feel special. She congratulated them on being new "big siblings." It was really nice to see them feel special.
*Keep Your Routine*
Remember kids and predictability? Still applicable. If the new baby changes your normal routine too much, your older kids will feel the new baby is "cramping their style." Try to keep things after the baby, similar to how they were before the baby. Take a minute and think about what activities and parts of the day mean the most to each of your children. Do all in your power to not change those important things.
*Let Your Kids Help*
Have them sing to the baby, read stories, choose outfits, and help pack the diaper bag. When we had our second, our son was just 2 1/2. Anywhere I went with the baby, I invited him along. He stood by me when I bathed her, dressed her, he sat next to me and read stories when I fed her. He helped me do everything. His favorite, slowly pouring warm water on her feet when she was taking a bath. There are so many things that kids can do to help. Let them in. Don't make the baby off limits to your older kids.
*Plan Time Alone With Each Child*
One of the best ways to make the transition smoother, spend time with each child individually. This sounds obvious, but when we are tired, baby tired, it can slip our minds. Do what ever needs to be done to give individual attention. At home, take time to show them pictures of when they were young. Watch home videos of when they were babies. Talk about how cute they were and special it was when they came home. Grab ice cream together and talk, go to the bookstore, play catch. Anything special and together.
Think about how you can prepare older siblings before the baby arrives. So when your mind has been over taken by hormones you will be ready.
Do you have a child who is jealous of a new baby?
Then this is a good read.
DO YOU HAVE A BABY ON THE WAY?
HAVE ANY OF YOUR CHILDREN STRUGGLED WITH NEW BABY JEALOUSY?
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