You found out you’re having another baby! Congratulations! You expect your already born child to be as excited as you are and during the pregnancy, he or she is…but then the new baby comes. And jealousy hits. How do you help your child transition into the older sibling role without being jealous in the process? Well, read on and we promise there is hope! It’s common for children to experience jealousy when a new baby comes along and takes away some of the attention. Here are some things to do and not to do in regards to having a new baby and how to transition your only child into sharing the love:
What Not to Do:
- Don’t tell your child that he or she will have someone to play with. Eventually, yes they will play together but the older child will be very sad (and then upset) when they realize they can’t play with their new sibling right away. Instead, tell your child he or she can help take care of the little baby.
- Don’t change your child’s everyday routines when the baby comes. Children perform better when they have a daily routine they follow. Make sure you don’t make crazy changes to his or her sleeping or eating patterns when baby comes or your older child will ultimately take it out on baby.
What to Do:
- Teach your child about being gentle and careful with his or her new baby sibling. Show him or her how to speak softly to the baby and touch them gently by doing so on your older sibling. Allowing them to experience how to treat the baby will help your child be more nurturing. Feel free to get your child a baby doll to practice with.
- Be realistic. Let your child know what’s coming. The new baby will sleep and eat more often than anything else since let’s face it, that’s mostly what they do! And cry of course. Point out sleeping, eating, happy, crying babies when you’re out and about with your child so he or she can see all the ways a baby acts.
- Bring a friend’s baby over to the house a bit before your own baby is due to get your child acclimated with having a new baby around. This transition will not make the new sibling transition as intense as your child will know a little bit about what to expect.
- Tell your child how much you love him or her (it’s important to do this often regardless) and let him or her participate in taking care of the baby even if it means holding the bottle at feeding time, putty the pacifier in the baby’s mouth, helping seal the clean diaper shut, etc. The more your older child feels they are a part of the new baby’s life, the less jealousy he or she will experience.
Children want to know they are appreciated, loved, and are helpful to the family dynamic. Follow this advice and your only child will transition into the older child role much easier!