The Parent-Teacher-Child Connection: Six ways to help older siblings accept the new baby

Monday, January 30, 2012

Six ways to help older siblings accept the new baby

Since I have a new grandbaby on the way who will be joining her older brothers, I thought this would be the perfect post! 

When children are accustomed to a parent's undivided attention, and then that attention shifts to the new baby, naturally jealousy will occur.  It's your job to help the older child to understand that he or she is still very important to the family.  Here are some ways to do that:
  1. Assign the older siblings to do a helpful job around the house.  Not only does this cut down on your time to do something, it also shows the older child that he is definitely more capable of doing things around that house than his little brother or sister.  Make sure you notice every time the new job gets done.  This could be as simple as making sure that all the cabinet drawers are closed all the time to loading the dishwasher, or making sure the coffee table stays clear of clutter. 
  2. Take time for your older child that does not inlude the new baby.  Go on an excursion with him while the baby stays with the other parent.  Let him choose the nature of that excursion so it's his idea, not yours.  Let him take some control over his life.
  3. Have your older child make a welcome home card or sign for the new baby and then hang it in her room.
  4. Allow the older brother or sister to help with the infant's care by bringing a clean diaper or helping to hold a bottle.  The older sibling might even be allowed to choose which outfit the baby should wear (give a choice of two or three).
  5. Help the older brother or sister to understand that the baby may be taking up much of your time now, but within the next year, he or she will be able to interact with the older children in the family. 
  6. Most parents can tell when their children need a little extra TLC - give it to them when they need it!
If you want some good to read to your children, here are two examples that I like, but there are many more:
  • The New Baby at Your House  - Text is good for age 3+ but the pictures tell the story, so you can use your own words for younger children
  • The New Baby  by Fred Rogers - 'nuf said!  Good multiracial pictures
Happy parenting!

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