The birth of a new sibling can be exciting and difficult for the rest of your children. They will experience conflicting emotions along with fear of losing your love and attention. However, welcoming a new baby into the home is an opportunity for your children to be resilient to change. It is normal for children to experience jealousy of their new sibling, but they will eventually adapt and will soon develop a relationship with their new brother or sister.
1. Prepare Your Children for Change
Your kids will be better able to adapt to having a new sibling if they are prepared for and excited about the new baby. Teach your children about their new role as an older brother or sister well before the baby arrives. Read books or watch movies about newborn babies and their siblings. Have conversations about the importance of being an older sibling, and foster an attitude of pride and responsibility in this role. Participating in preparations for the new baby, such as shopping, decorating the baby's room and picking out the baby's name, will help your children accept the fact that there will be a new person in their family. Create an attitude of excitement and anticipation so your children can adopt a positive attitude toward having a new baby in the home.
2. Keep Routines as Similar as Possible
A new baby will inevitably bring many changes to family life. Most children have a hard time dealing with such disruptions. The best way to help your kids deal with a new sibling is to keep routines as similar as possible. Try to continue participating in your children's activities, such as attending their soccer games, picking them up after school and reading to them before bedtime. If there are certain activities you must suspend temporarily because of the new baby, avoid blaming it on having to care for the new baby and phrase it in a positive manner. For example, instead of saying "I can't take you to soccer practice because I have to take care of the baby," say "What if Dad takes you to soccer practice for a couple of weeks so he can see how good you are?"
3. Allow Your Children to Bond with Baby
Give your children the opportunity to bond with their new sibling and develop a sense of responsibility as a big sister or brother. Allow them to participate in activities such as feeding the baby, helping during bath time or singing to their new sibling. Give your children plenty of praise when they are being helpful and emphasize that they are living up to their new role as an older brother or sister. It is also important for your kids to have time to cuddle, rock and play with the baby. This will help them develop a bond with their new sibling.
4. Schedule Individual Quality Time
Your children need individual time with you to feel that you still care for them and that they are still important to you. Make sure you schedule some time each day alone with each child. It doesn't matter if you are playing, reading or doing homework, the important thing is that it is just the two of you. Have a friend or family member babysit the baby once in a while so you and the rest of your family can do some of the activities you stopped doing with the arrival of the new baby.