It’s totally normal for your older children to be jealous of their new baby brother or sister. Mighty Mommy knows because having 8 kids meant having to deal with this scenario 7 different times, so today she shares 5 ways you can help your older kids feel more at ease when they welcome their new baby sibling.
Tip #3: Celebrate Your Family’s Growth
Each time I had one of my babies, I truly couldn’t wait to get home and see my older children. Being away from them for a couple of days seemed so much longer, and it was for them too. When I arrived home from the hospital with our new baby, my husband would carry the baby in so that I was free to hug and kiss my other kids. They always went to the new baby to check him/her out, but after a minute or so, they were usually more excited to be with me.
Before the birth of the new baby, pick out a little gift for your older child as a token from the new baby. Let him open it when you arrive home from the hospital and explain that it’s from your new baby to celebrate how happy you are that your family is growing and how special it is for him to now have a sister or brother to love.
We always had cupcakes or an ice cream cake the day we came home from the hospital to enjoy the special occasion of welcoming a new member to our family. We also let our older kids draw a picture in the new baby’s baby book. They always felt so important because they got to color right in the book. Those pictures are some of my most treasured memories in each of my kid’s scrapbooks.
Tip #4: Let Your Child Help Create a Special “Sibling Hub” in the House
Many of us get swept away with decorating that adorable nursery for our new baby to arrive home to, but there are other areas in the house that can also be turned into a special location for family members to bond with baby, particularly the older sibling(s). Find a special nook in your home that your older child can help make into a special “sibling hub” where he and his new baby brother will get to hang out in. We had a corner in our family room that our older kids would stash special mementos such as a cute stuffed animal they would pick out before the baby arrived, or a music box that played lullabies. I would find quiet time throughout the week where the older siblings could have one-on-one time with their new baby brother or sister. This gave the older kids a chance to “show off” for the new baby because it was in a location other than the nursery which was much more baby-oriented and less family-oriented. See Also: Five Ways to Squash Sibling Squabbles
Tip #5: Show Them the Love
Kids generally want one thing—to please their parents and to feel safe and loved. I will never forget watching an Oprah Winfrey show years ago when my kids were still toddlers and pre-schoolers—her guest that day asked the audience members, “Do you light up when your child enters the room or when you haven’t seen him/her for a long period of time?”
That really left an impact on me because I realized how easily we can take our young children for granted because they are always underfoot or keep us hopping 24/7. It was then I began to make a conscious effort to make eye contact and gesture to them with a warm hug or an enthusiastic comment such as, “Oh honey, it’s so good to see you—what was your day like today?” rather than just saying a quick hello when they got home from school.
When your new baby comes home, take the time to shower your older child with love and joy when you see him rather than focusing on showing him the new baby. After you fuss over him, then let him sit and hold the baby alongside you. Offer your child plenty of opportunities to show his new baby love and affection, reminding him to be gentle. Encourage him to talk softly to the baby about the fun things they are going to do when baby gets older. This will help to build a sense of responsibility and help the big brother to start bonding with the new baby. Be sure to take lots of photos so you can sit with your older child and look at the shots together and talk about what a great job he’s doing being a big brother.
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Newborn baby sleeping and Happy little girl holding hand of newborn images courtesy of Shutterstock