September 21, 2017

3 Ways to Help an Older Sibling Deal with Having a New Baby in the House

by Erin Kurt

Has your older child been overly aggressive or desperate for attention since your new baby arrived? This situation can be very stressful for a tired mom and dad, however it needn’t be. Here are a few tips on how to turn this tiring situation around.

1. Schedule one-on-one time with the older child. It is important to remember how big of a change it is for your first child to have a new baby around. Guests are coming over, people are “oohing and aahing” over a new baby, gifts are pouring in for the baby, you and your husband are visibly more tired and stressed, and seem to be busy dealing with “the baby” all the time.

The best thing you can do to show your child they haven’t been forgotten and that you still love them is for both you AND your partner to schedule in weekly, bi-weekly or monthly one-on-one time with your older child. Take a calendar to them and say, “I really want to spend some time together – just you and I. I was thinking that on Saturday morning you and I could…. Does that sound like a good idea? Is there anything else you’d like to do together?” After deciding what you will be doing, schedule it then and there on the calendar and maybe even make the day look really exciting by putting a special sticker on that day.

Throughout the weeks or month you can casually mention how excited you are for the day, or state how many days left there are,Ways to Help an Older Sibling Deal with Having a New Baby until your big day. Your child will be thrilled and proud that they will have your undivided attention, but most of all, that YOU are just as excited about spending time with them.

2. Allow each parent to be a Mom and a Dad. Too often moms take over all the responsibilities for the baby, either because they want to or because they are being a martyr. Because of this, dads are left out of the picture and the older child feels a bit rejected.

In my opinion, whether a mother chooses to breastfeed or not, it is extremely important for the father to be responsible for at least ONE of the feedings. Not only will this give the mom a break, it will help the father develop his own bond with the new baby. Don’t believe that your baby won’t go back on the breast; if you start with this routine early on – it will just be what’s normal to them. Just as you had to be persistent with teaching your child to breastfeed properly, so should you be as persistent about this. It’s THAT important. Use this time to read a book to your older child or invite them to cook or bake with you; whatever it is, just be sure that you give 20-30 minutes of undivided attention to your older child.

3. Stay consistent with discipline. Children thrive on predictability and routine therefore be sure to stick with a consistent form of discipline. With so many changes being thrown at your older child, a feeling of instability can over take them. Don’t feel bad for them and begin being softer than usual or giving in to their whining. Now is the time to show them you are still the mom and dad they had before the baby came and that you are totally comfortable with the new situation (even if you’re not sometimes). Children are HIGHLY perceptive and if they feel your insecurities THEY will feel insecure.

The best way to show them you are secure and comfortable with the new situation is to consistently use a method of discipline. The words should be the same, the order should be the same, and the consequences should be the same. To your older child this will be very comforting, believe it or not.

Erin Kurt, B.Ed, spent 16 years as a teacher and nanny around the world. Now, she applies her expertise as a parenting expert and author of Juggling Family Life  http://www.erinparenting.com/juggling-family-life  and The Life Balance Formula http://lifebalanceformula.com .  You can learn more about Erin and her simple, loving parenting method, and subscribe to her weekly parenting tips e-zine athttp://erinparenting.com. You’ll also receive Erin’s free video series “8 Secrets to Stress-Free Parenting,” packed with parentings tips!

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