A new baby is on the way and your family is growing. As overjoyed as you are, you need to remember that your older child might be having a difficult time accepting the arrival of a little brother or little sister. They may feel displaced, jealous or left out, with your new born crying out for all the attention of his parents.
It’s vital to make your older child feel part of the ‘family team’, so that there are not two but three people welcoming a baby into the world. Not only will this give them a sense of responsibility, but also reassure them that they are every bit as vital to the family unit as before.
Encourage your child’s connection to the baby
- Take him to the doctors to hear the baby’s heartbeat
- Think of potential baby names together
- Let him choose a special cuddly toy for the baby
- Let him help create the birth announcement cards, or even better, let him be the one to announce the birth
- Allow him to help look after the baby: pushing the pram, choosing the baby’s outfits…
Reassure your child
- He may be your older child, but he is still a child, so let him behave like one
- Stay affectionate; keep those cuddles and kisses coming
- Make sure you spend some quality time together, whilst someone else looks after your baby.
- Let him recognise the importance and advantages of being an older sibling.
- Ask your friends and family to buy gifts for your older child, thanking him for being such a good boy throughout it all. He can then even send out thank you cards, making him really part of the special occasion.
How to deal with jealous outbursts
No one child is the same; nonetheless, a lot of children display some form of jealous behaviour during this time, whether it be indifference, regression or aggression…
These displays of jealousy are sometimes surprising in their spontaneity, even before the arrival of your baby. It is here that you use the honesty and openness of a child to your advantage, by talking to them and showing that you understand these displays, while gently but firmly reminding them of the family rules.