We understand bringing home a new baby can be challenging for both parents and older children alike. From jealousy to anxiety, siblings often feel intense emotions at the arrival of a new brother or sister. However, you can make the introduction smoother by following our three strategies below.
One of the most effective ways of preparing a toddler for a new baby is to exchange gifts. To start, find a highly reinforcing gift that your child really wants. During the introduction, emphasize that your new baby chose the gift for the sibling. This technique often helps to start the bonding process.
However, older sibling gifts from a new baby can be more challenging. This is because many children will question their new baby brother or sister as the giver. If this is the case, you can involve your child by having him or her pick a new gift for the baby and do a mutual gift exchange. New big brother gifts or big sister gifts help your older child understand that they have a new role within the family unit.
It is normal for children to feel nervous at the arrival of a baby brother or sister. You can help reduce these feelings by asking questions. Start by finding out how your son or daughter feels about the new baby. You may ask “Are you excited to be a big brother or sister?” or similar variations. Asking questions gives your child the opportunity to express their feelings and gives you the chance to resolve any negative ones.
Don’t Express Big Changes
Children often fear large changes in their family when a new brother or sister comes home. Don’t focus on what will change or express it to your older child as it may cause unnecessary anxiety. If your child has questions about changes that might happen, be sure to maintain a positive tone and outlook that will help build excitement.
It is important to keep in mind that children naturally experience uneasy feelings during the initial part of the bonding process. If you feel like your child needs help bonding to a new sibling or would like additional information, contact us today!