The birth of a new child is a wondrous occasion for any parent! It’s a time of magic and a celebration of the beauty of life. However, while welcoming a baby into your life may bring you unbridled joy, you may discover that the younger members of your household might not be as thrilled with the new addition.
Introducing a new sibling brings a significant change to any family dynamic. We’ve put together a list of tips that can help your little one adjust to their new role as a brother or sister.
1. Introduce your child to the baby before its arrival.
To many young children, the idea of being an older brother or sister is entirely foreign. Introducing the concept of a new baby and the role of a sibling through books can be a healthy way to familiarize the idea with them while allowing you to bond over the new child.
Discussing the baby with excitement may help that attitude rub off on them as well. Inciting their curiosity in the baby now could lead to an interest in their new sibling from the first introduction.
2. Don’t hold your child for the first meeting.
When introducing your child to the baby, make sure you do so in a neutral setting. Holding your baby during this important moment can give your older child the sense that the baby is now your priority. Instead, place the baby in its cradle, on a blanket, etc., to allow your child to investigate on their own terms.
Timing is vital as well. If you know your toddler is cranky in the afternoon or drowsy after meals, it’s best to postpone the introduction until a later time. Set your newborn off in another room and wait for a moment when your older child is in a good mood to ensure a comfortable environment for all.
3. Avoid “big kid” language.
Although there’s a newborn in the home, your eldest may not feel done with their time as your baby, and that’s ok! Welcoming a newborn into their lives is a big moment for any child.
Assigning new labels to your older child, like “big kid,” can give the sense that you are forcing them into this role when they may not be ready just yet. Your eldest will begin to grow into the “big kid” role with time and encouragement.
4. Set aside special time for your older child.
As we’re sure you know, babies require a lot of attention. While you may be overwhelmed with your new responsibilities, it’s essential to carve out some special one-on-one time for your older child as well.
The activities can be as simple as story time or walking the dog together. By putting time aside just for them, your actions will reassure your older child that your love is just as strong as before their sibling arrived.
5. Keep reasonable expectations.
In a perfect world, your child would adopt the new baby into their heart with open arms, but it is important to realize how this is a substantial shift in the structure of their world. As with all things, big changes often require time to adjust. Be patient with your child and give them the time that they need to properly settle into a new life as an older sibling.
At Children’s Discovery Center, we understand the time and attention infant care requires. Between parenting, work, personal relationships and more, it can help to have a team at your side as you navigate your child’s development. Our team is dedicated to aiding the families of Toledo by offering child care and education services for infant, preschool and kindergarten age children. Contact us today to learn more.