Will my child be able to cope up when the new baby arrives? This one question can make parents expecting a second child quite anxious, and rightly so. Children today are a lot smarter, can display a range of emotions, are quite intuitive, and can pick up on little changes easily. A new baby in the house is a major turning point in their lives and it’s your responsibility as a parent to help them come to terms with it. So, without further ado, here are a few tips for you to help your firstborn when it’s time for them to have a sibling.
Before the baby is born
Image source: The Bump
If your child is old enough to talk, sit her down and tell her that she is soon going to have a new baby brother or sister. Don’t let it be someone from the outside to break this news to her.
Storybooks that revolve around bringing home a new baby are a great option to make your child feel positive about the induction of a new baby.
Take her to visit friends or relatives who have just had a new baby in the house. Seeing a newborn will help her get used to the idea of having a tiny baby around.
Talk to her about the arrival of the new baby. However, don’t set the expectation that the baby will be a playmate for her. Since initially the baby is only going to cry and sleep, she might be disappointed that it’s not what she expected.
If the child is very dependent on the mummy, now is the time for the daddy to take more responsibilities and spend more time with the child. This is so that the child is prepared for when the baby arrives and the mummy is occupied. Start this a few months before the baby’s arrival.
A few months before you expect the baby to come, help your child settle into a routine that is more in line with what she should expect when the baby comes along.
If you are going to move your child from the crib to the bed so that the baby can sleep in the crib, don’t let it be last minute. Prepare your child by helping her make the transition much before the baby comes.
When the baby comes home
Image source: Children’s Medical Center
When you bring the baby home, make sure you still spend quality time with the older child. Though it might not be possible to give her your undivided attention all the time, take some time out especially for her.
Let the older child help you out in little things while caring for the new baby. For example, you can let her fold the laundry with you, or let her fetch the towel when you give the baby a bath and let her watch when you massage the baby.
When you coo to the little one and play with her, involve your older child in the play. Let her amuse her little sibling with rattles or colorful toys.
If you feel that your child is feeling left out, sad, or even jealous due to the presence of the new baby in the house, talk to her. Help her understand her emotions and help her put her feelings into words. For example, “Did you feel sad because mummy couldn’t read the book to you?”
You must do everything to make sure the older child feels comfortable with the new baby. But don’t overcompensate by pampering her and letting her have her way every time. Make sure you have a set of ground rules and that your older child understands that she needs to follow them.
And lastly, dear parents, remember not to get too stressed with managing two children. You need to keep your sanity so that you can be there for both your children! Remember that this is a phase through which you and your child are going and this, too, shall pass.