It can sometimes be hard for older children to handle the arrival of a new baby. They may feel jealous or displaced. You may even find that your child starts to act younger than their age to gain more attention.
Here are some ways to try to ensure your older child feels loved once there’s a new baby on the scene:
- Before your new baby is born, include your older child in plans for the new baby, such as setting up the new crib and preparing the baby clothes and toys.
- After your new baby is born, give your older child special responsibilities. This will help them feel more involved.
- Emphasize your child’s new role as a big brother or sister and how important it is.
- Get your older child a baby doll, complete with bottles and toys, so they can imitate you.
- Read books together: mom, dad, baby, older child, grandparent, extended family and treasured friend. Have them each choose their favourite book – even one for baby.
- Let your older child build a relationship with the baby. Help them notice when the baby responds to a voice, silly faces and cuddling.
- Try to spend some uninterrupted time with your older child. Do their favourite activity together or just talk and snuggle. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a long time, but it has to be just for them.
- Prepare your partner for the fact that, since you will be busy with the baby, he or she will need to be more available for your older child.
- Ask your children’s grandparents or other relatives and friends to spend some special time with your older child.