There are many things that you need to take into consideration when it comes to bringing a new baby in the family. For the first newborn, it will be easier since all your focus will be directed to your new son or daughter. However, once you have a second child, there is already a need to give your attention not only to the newborn but also to the existing child. Keep in mind that such event can be overwhelming for the kid, which is why you really need to exert some effort in helping him manage the new environment and accept the recent changes.
Parental favoritism for one sibling often starts when children are young and continues into adulthood. — Geoffrey Greif Ph.D.
How can I help my child be prepared for a new brother or sister?
Once you get pregnant, make sure to let your child know that you are expecting a new baby. Let your kid know that he will soon become an elder brother to a new member of the family. As much as possible, make your child become part of your pregnancy journey (read further in MomJunction) . Give him time to rub your belly or to feel the movements of the fetus inside your womb.
Let your existing child know that having a new baby can bring some changes at home. Educate him about the usual things that a baby does such as crying, shouting or sleeping. Prepare him for the coming of a new sibling by talking about what may happen right after you give birth. For example, if there is a need for him to move into another room, be certain that he is informed ahead of time. Explain why there is a need to effect such change.
When children talk about their problems, parents need to listen more without offering advice as opposed to becoming reactive and/or trying to rescue children from their problems. — Kathy Hardie-Williams, MEd, MS, NCC, LPC, LMFT
What are the effective ways of helping my older child easily accept these changes?
The age of your older child is an important factor in determining how well he would react to having a new baby in the family. If he is still in his tender years, then expect things to be more challenging. Take note that older kids are more excited to meet a new sibling than the younger children. Here is a list of the things you could do to make it easier for your child to accept the changes:
- Make him feel that he is still important despite the fact that there is already a new baby in the family. Do not forget to care for his needs before attending to the needs of the newborn.
- Give equal attention to the children. Keep in mind that kids, especially the toddlers, are hungry for attention. The last thing you want the older child to feel is abandonment.
- Let them play or bond together. Find an activity that both your kids can enjoy together. For example, you can ask your older child to help you in entertaining the baby. The more you make him become more involved in rearing the baby, the easier it is on his part to be closer to his sibling.
…if you take a moment to reframe their behavior and put yourself in their shoes, you might find this new understanding helps you both reach a positive resolution. — Katelyn Alcamo, LCMFT
Realizing that there is a new member of your family can be difficult for your older child at first. Luckily, there are many things that you can do about it.