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How to Help Your Child Accept a New Baby

NewBaby 300x240 How to Help Your Child Accept a New BabyBringing home a new baby can be a terrific or horrific experience for an older sibling. Being used to the idea of being an only child and getting all the attention is suddenly out the door. In some cases it may mean extra work for the older sibling. It would be difficult then to find the upside of this change in the household.

All of a sudden there is competition for attention and there may even be bad behavior as a result. The older sibling may even feel forced to grow up faster. As a parent, you may feel guilty and unsure of how to remedy the situation so that adequate time is devoted to all your children.

The answer to this problem starts from before the new baby arrives home. Describe to your child what will happen at each stage, before, during and after the baby is born. Additionally, you shouldn’t give the impression that the baby will be a playmate or a best friend initially, as the baby will do nothing but sleep, eat, cry and observe. You should also explain that when the baby cries, it is through no fault of the younger child.

Give the older sibling the opportunity of assisting with naming the new baby. You can make a list of names that you wouldn’t mind the baby having. Another way they can help is by assisting with the design of the nursery. Maybe they can help pick the color of the room or maybe they can go shopping with you to pick up a couple of things for the baby’s room. Ensure to use at least one of their suggestions and let them know what a great job they did of choosing. It would also be worthwhile to allow them to be present at the birth of the baby.

When the baby settles in, find positive ways of having the siblings interact. You can supervise the older child holding the baby, you can let him/her read or sing to the baby. If your child displays negative behaviors, try as much as possible to ignore it. You don’t want to feed their need for attention when they do things that are wrong. They may feel that the way to get you to notice them is by acting out.

Don’t make your child feel less important than the baby. For instance, if the baby starts crying while you are spending quality time with big brother or sister, don’t run away to tend to the baby. Sometimes the baby has to wait a little just like when the older sibling has to sometimes wait when you’re attending to the baby.

In some cases, younger children don’t quite understand that the baby isn’t going anywhere. You should therefore stick to as much of the normal family routine as possible. Don’t let your child suffer because the new baby arrived. You should also have fun family activities. Do things that the entire family can share in. Your older child may develop feelings of resentment if he/she thinks that the baby is preventing the family from having fun together.

Helping your older child/children transition to the new family dynamic starts from the time you find out that you are pregnant. It is a continuous process that requires effort and patience but will be beneficial to the whole family.

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