Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sibling Rivalry

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The birth of a new baby is a joyous occasion. However, it may not seem so joyous for the new big brother or sister. Before the new baby, they had mom and dad's attention all to themselves. Now the attention is divided. Often the older sibling develops feelings of jealousy as they feel displaced by the new baby. If mom and dad are aware though, they can help the older child transition into their new role as a sibling. Here are some helpful tips to prevent fiasco's such as the one pictured above.

Before the baby comes:

  • Explain to your child, on their level, all the changes that will come with the new baby. Be realistic. Let them know that the baby will take a lot of mommy's time and mommy will be tired. 
  • Look at pictures and watch videos of them as a baby. Tell them about their own birth and what they were like as a baby. Tell them about the excitement surrounding their own birth and that everyone was excited to meet and hold them. 
  • Have your child practice holding a doll, teaching them how to touch and hold the baby gently. 
  • If you are planning to move the older sibling into a new room or a new bed, do so months in advance. This will keep the two events separate and will help keep the child from feeling displaced by the new baby. 
  • Read books about their new role as an older sibling. Some examples include "I'm a Big Sister" and "I'm a Big Brother" by Joanna Cole. 
  • Involve your child in the process. Let them come to your doctor's appointment with you and hear the heartbeat. 
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After the baby comes: 
  • Arrange to have your child come as soon as possible after delivery to see their new sibling. 
  • Have a gift especially for them from the new baby. 
  • Establish routines again, as soon as possible. 
  • Explain some of the things babies can't do that make it great to be older. For example: babies can't run. The more they understand about baby, the less jealous they will be. 
  • When you come home from the hospital have dad bring the baby into the house. This will keep mom available to hug and hold the older child when first coming home. 
  • Give the older sibling special jobs. Let them be involved in taking care of baby. 
  • Have one-on-one time with you and your older child, everyday. It doesn't need to be long. But this time will help him feel special and loved
For even more helpful tips you can go online to The Baby Center. How have you handled the transition in your own family? Comment below! We love hearing life experiences and tips from our readers! 

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