The arrival of a new child can bring many changes to a family. Parents spend a lot of energy on preparation, and after the birth of a child, most of the attention of the family goes to caring for the newborn. All of these changes can be difficult for older siblings. It is common for them to feel jealous of the newborn and react to shocks by acting out. But parents can prepare the kids for the addition to the family.
Talking about pregnancy in terms children can understand, taking some action, and including children in newborn care can make life easier for everyone. Once your child is home, you can help other children adjust to the changes. Involve them as often as possible in daily activities related to the child so that they do not feel left out.
Many children want to help take care of a newborn. While this “help” may mean that each task takes longer to complete, it can give the older child the opportunity to positively interact with the child. Depending on age, an older sibling may want to entertain the baby during a diaper change, help push the stroller, talk to the baby, or help dress, bathe, or burp the baby. If your child does not show interest in the baby, do not be afraid and do not force him. This may take time.
In some cases, such as breastfeeding, older children are excluded. Try to have toys on hand during this time so that you can feed your baby without being distracted or worried about the older child feeling left out. Take the opportunity to be one on one with older children. Spend time together while the baby sleeps, and if possible, set aside time each day for older children so they can get the undivided attention of a parent. Knowing that there is a special time for them can help ease any resentment or anger about the newborn.