I often talk to parents who have had a new baby and the siblings are adjusting to life with a new baby. A new sibling can be a big change for a little one.
Here are my tips for helping siblings with a new baby:
Before bub arrives:
Before your new babe arrives talk to your children about the new baby. Talk about how life might change but remind them that you will still love them and make time for them. There are hundreds of books around that can help with this. Find the book that suits you best, and read it with you child a few times and keep reading it after your new baby arrives.
If you have a child that is still in a cot, leave them in it. Buy a 2nd cot or borrow one if you can. Your little one is about to have a huge change in their life. We don’t want them to feel like the new baby has taken their cot.
The first 6 months
Some little ones are fine when the new bub arrives. Some react straight away and show attention seeking behaviour. Some don’t react until bub is 6 months old. This is all very normal. Everyone is learning to live with the new family member.
Try to make some time to spend some time with them, it could be as simple as book and cuddle before bed. If you need to go tend to the baby try not to say that, especially at bed time. Try to say I am doing a quick job and I’ll be back or I have to go do the dishes and I’ll be back.
Give them a Job
Try to involve the sibling in things with the new baby where you can. This can be hard, but your older children are excited about the new baby they will want to help. Find a couple of little things they can do e.g. clean the baby’s feet in the bath, get the nappy for you.
Have some easy activities up your sleeve for your older children can do while you are busy with the new baby. Some examples are water paint, building blocks, a bucket of random toys, ABC kids (channel 22 if you were wondering). Try and think of some activities they can do on their own. This will come in hand when you are putting baby to bed or feeding baby.
These are just a few tips. The chances are that at some stage your little ones will do some attention seeking behaviour when the new baby arrives. It may not happen straight away it could be 6 or 7 months in. It is normal think about it from your child’s point of view all a sudden all your time is taken up by this new baby. You can’t do all the things you might have done before. Try to give your older child/ren lots of positive interactions so then they are not seeking your attention in bad behaviour. Having a new baby is an adjustment for everyone, you will be amazing!
If you know anyone that this could help please share it with them.