While the majority of children look forward to the arrival of a new baby, some do change their minds once they arrive. They might suddenly start being naughty or craving your attention more than usual. Some children will even regress and start wanting to use diapers and being fed by a bottle again. This is particularly common in younger children. Having a baby is a life-changing event for your entire family. But it can also be a confusing and unsettling time for your first born. They may not fully understand what is happening, and this can encourage them to act differently. But it’s likely that they do want to connect and get involved with their new brother or sister. So to make the transition easier and to help your eldest adjust, read the following tips and advice.
Ask for their input
A simple way to of getting your older child to be more interested in their sibling is by asking for their input and advice. You might want to ask them to help you choose clothes or shoes for the baby to wear. Or you could ask them which toy they think the baby will enjoy playing with when they get older. You could even ask them to help you change a nappy, feed their sibling or play with them. If they are old, enough they might even be able to read their new sibling a story or sing a song to them. Tell your eldest child that their opinion and ideas are very important and their new sibling wants to know what they think. This should encourage them to want to get involved and help you look after their brother or sister. But keep in mind that this might not happen straight away. If they show little sign of wanting to get involved or to help, never force them to. The may just need some more time to come around to the idea.
Help them understand
Helping your older child figure out what is happening is crucial and will help them to settle into the situation a lot easier. Find out how they feel about their new sibling and if they have any concerns. You can do this by asking them to draw a picture, write a story or by talking to them directly. Listen carefully to their responses and do your best to put their mind at ease. The reason they might not have taken to their new sibling could be out of fear. In which case, you can show them that their sibling just wants to be friends and teach them how to hold them properly. You could also read them stories for older siblings which detail the process and what roles they now have. You can find these online and in bookstores. If their response to your questioning seems negative, don’t punish them. This will stop them wanting to open up to you in future, and this could make their behavior worse. Acknowledge their feelings and be understanding. They might just need you to give them reassurance and support. Let them know how beneficial having a sibling can be in terms they will understand. For instance, you could say that when the baby grows up they can play sports outside together.
Spend time together alone
One of the most important things you can do is to spend time alone with your eldest child. Your baby will naturally require a significant portion of your time and attention. This can make your firstborn feel left out, jealous and confused. Spending some quality time together can make them feel special and gives you a chance to talk to one another. Even if it is only for half an hour each day, it can make a significant difference to their behavior and attitude. Think about fun things you can do together during this time. You might want to play a game, build a fort or do arts and crafts at home. Visiting a local park or taking them for ice-cream is another option. If you’re able to get childcare for your baby, you might also want to look for days out with kids ideas online. This could give you a whole day together where you can have fun and bond.
Implementing these tips once your baby is born will assist your firstborn in accepting and adjusting to their new sibling. Each child is different, and it could take some time for them to come around. Be patient and make sure they know how loved they are by you and the rest of their family. This will help them begin to see just how amazing having a baby brother or sister can be.
*This is a collaborative post*