Bringing home a new baby fills a house with joy and wonder. It can also bring worry and stress to older siblings who feel their world has just been turned upside down. A sense of jealousy, resentment, and even a little anger is normal. Siblings fear there won’t be enough love, or time to go around.
As parents, there are things we can say and do to help ease the transition.
Talk about what WON’T change once the new baby arrives and emphasis all the things that will be the same. This includes:
- Keeping a similar routine – Talk to your kids about their favorite parts of the day, and make sure you keep those consistent.
- Avoiding making big changes like toilet training, graduating from the crib, or changing rooms. Work through these transitions a few months before baby arrives, or a few months after.
- Keeping life predictable - Remember, predictability brings a sense of security that is really important to children, so keep things predictable and consistent.
Talk about the new “big sibling role”. Be sure your conversations are realistic. Getting your kids excited about the things the baby can’t do until he/she is four will create false hopes.
Involve older siblings in making meaningful decisions, before and after the baby arrives and let them help with the new baby. Make sure that one-on-one time is still spent with each child. Make it a point to have individual conversations and experiences with each of your children. This will help them feel special and loved and let them know that the new baby has not taken their spot in the family.
A fun way to help older siblings make the new baby transition: we give each of our children a disposable camera and ask them to be the photographers. They feel important and have fun taking pictures at the hospital and once we get home. It is so fun to get the pictures developed. Some of our very best photos have come from our kids.
What’s worked the best for your family??