It can sometimes be hard for older children to handle the arrival of a new baby. They may feel jealous or displaced. You may even find that your child starts to act younger than his age to gain more attention.
Here are some ways to try to ensure your older child feels loved once there's a new baby on the scene:
- Before your new baby is born, include your older child in plans for the new baby, such as setting up the new sleeping space and preparing the baby toys and clothes.
- After your new baby is born, give your older child special responsibilities to help her feel involved. Let older children hold the baby safely.
- Emphasize your child's new role as a big brother or sister - and how important that is.
- Get your older child a baby doll, complete with bottle and clothes, so he can imitate you.
- Read books together: mom, dad, baby, older child, grandparent, extended family and treasured friend. Each choose their favourite - even one for the baby. If your older child is reading, let him read what he can.
- Let your older child build a relationship with the baby. Help her notice when the baby responds to a voice, silly faces and cuddling.
- Try to spend some uninterrupted time with your older child - maybe doing her favourite activity together, or just snuggling and talking. Remember, it doesn't have to be a long time, but it has to be just for her.
- Let your older child hear you tell others what a help he is with the new baby. But be careful that this is not the only thing that you ever compliment him on.
- Prepare your partner for the fact that, since you will be kept busy with the baby, he or she will need to be more available to your older child.
- Ask your children's grandparents or other relatives and friends to spend some special time with your older child.