Bringing home a new baby creates a totally different family dynamic when you already have kids. How can you help your older one bond with the new baby? We’ve gathered some fabulous advice from top Baby Sites around the web…
Help Children Understand Before Baby is Born
The idea that there is a little person inside mommy’s tummy may be hard to grasp for a child. Explain how he himself started out in mommy’s tummy and came to be the big boy he is today. There are plenty of great books that are written for young children on the topic, of which Dr. Haltzman recommends reading during the three months leading up to your due date. ~PregnancyAndBaby
Assign Your Older Child As Helper- Go Team Baby!
Turn your firstborn into a Big Helper — a full-fledged member of Team Baby — and she’s likely to feel less threatened by the competition. Show her how to handle the baby gently and show him some love without hurting him. Lessons to include: how to kiss without smothering, hug without squeezing, and hold him in her lap while supporting his floppy head. When (and if) she wants to play with him, have her hold out a finger for baby bro to squeeze, or shake a rattle softly while he watches. Explain that babies like quiet sounds and songs better than loud ones and that they totally love to look at faces (especially hers!). If she’s clamoring to take on baby-care duties she’s not quite ready for — like burping, bathing, and diapering — give her a doll to practice on (and fully control). Around the house, look for age-appropriate tasks that’ll make her feel competent and proud — little kids make expert fetchers of indispensables like diapers, washcloths, and teddy bears. More ways to give her self-esteem a big-sister boost: Put her in charge of picking her little sib’s outfit, choosing which lullaby is on deck at baby’s bedtime, and making sure everyone uses their whisper voices when he’s napping. ~WhatToExpect
Let Each Child Know What You Love About Them Individually
Make sure each of your kids knows they still have an important role in the family. Reinforce all the wonderful things about who they are and how they contribute to the family. “Jess, I love the way you help me like this,” or “Sara, I love the way you make me laugh,” which note specific contributions, help your child develop a sense of why she’s still a valuable member of the family. Talk often about the fact that each member of the family is important in their own way and makes their own special contribution. The family needs each person for it to be whole. ~Aha Parenting
Acknowledge and Honor Your Other Child or Children in Public
New babies are people magnets when in public. People you know and often people you don’t know will often comment on how lovely your baby is while failing to notice your attentive toddler. Even if your toddler doesn’t appear to notice, he probably will if you reply “Thank you. She is lovely. And lucky too to have such a kind big brother”. ~Little Children, Big Dreams
Allow Your Older Child to Have His or Her Own ThingsForcing your toddler to share his favorite things can undermine his feelings of security and cause him to resent his sibling. “It’s crucial that kids have some things that are off-limits, especially to older brothers or sisters,” says Anastasia Gavalas, author ofWing It: 6 Simple Steps to Succeed as a Modern Day Parent. You might arrange for each child to fill a basket of toys that are “just his,” or set up separate play areas. Your toddler already has to share your attention (and lots of other things) with his sibling. Giving him some control will help him feel more confident — and less competitive. ~Parents.com
Do you have any advice to help siblings bond with a new baby?