There’s nothing more that will make a child jealous than a new sibling. It’s not that they won’t love their new baby brother or sister, it’s just that they’ve been the only child with all the attention for so long that the idea of having to share you in any way is horrific for them. Introducing an older child to the new baby can be very confusing for them, and very stressful for the parents. The change that a new baby brings is scary for an older child, as all they will see is their parents lavishing love and attention on someone that isn’t them!
Thankfully, there are tons of ways that you can make meeting their new sibling a fun experience. The way you handle new sibling introduction is going to be directly affected by the age of the child in question. Preparing an older child or teenager for a sibling is far easier than trying to explain to a toddler that they no longer rule the roost. We’ve got some ideas, though, so that the experience of introducing your child to their new baby brother or sister is a positive and happy experience.
- Use Your Pregnancy. After you’ve taken a test and it goes positive, you have nine whole months to introduce the idea of a new baby in the house. You can buy books like this one to explain the changes ahead, and you can even invest in cute monogrammed outfits that match so that your older child can present it to the baby on birth. Nine months goes by quickly, but you can use the time to get the whole family ready and get the other children involved in setting up the nursery.
- Stuffed Animals. If you buy all the children in the family a stuffed animal or a doll to care for, they won’t feel left out when the baby arrives. They’ll be able to care for their own ‘baby’ and copy what you do with the newborn baby.
- Staying Neutral. When you first introduce your children to a new baby, don’t hold the new baby. You want them to be able to feel like you haven’t just replaced them, and minimising jealousy is key for this. It can enable you to cuddle your older child or children and be solid together while you look at the new baby. It also gives your children the impression that you are all ‘meeting’ the baby together.
- Visitors Beware. When visitors start to descend to meet the new baby, which is an inevitability, it’s important that you ask them to be as interactive with your existing children and not just make it all about the new baby. Siblings often feel left out when visitors come to see a new baby, so make sure they are aware that your children matter, too.
Jealousy is a natural reaction to a big change in the home and you should be as prepared for that as possible. Watching your children learn to love each other is precious, but it all starts with you!