Congratulations! You’re welcoming another baby to the family! You have a bunch on your plate, you’re nesting again, and you’re researching all the latest nursery styles. You’ve likely broken the news to your firstborn, and you’re daydreaming about the moment when they meet for the first time. As amazing as it is to have a sibling, for those of us who have a brother and sister, we know it’s not all laughs and smiles 24/7. So how do you deal with sibling rivalry before and after your second child arrives? Here are some of my tips to tackling this tough issue with your little ones.
Before your newest addition to the family arrives, educate your oldest about being a big brother or sister
Go to your local library and get some books about being an older brother or sister. This is a fun and interactive way to make sure your child understands what being an older sibling is all about (plus, they get some of those bonus reading benefits!). Additionally, some hospitals offer new sibling classes or programs on how older children can interact with the new addition to the family when arriving home. It also is helpful to have honest conversations about how things will be a little different at home when the new baby comes. This way, you can start preparing them little by little and give them an idea of what to expect before the baby arrives.
Let big sister/brother help do things for little sister/brother. For example, let your oldest help get the diapers ready for a diaper change, pick out an outfit for the baby, assist during the baby’s bath time, or help feed the baby during mealtime. Encouraging your child to help with their little sibling will give them a role and responsibility they’ll feel proud of.
Do activities together
Encourage your children to go for walks together, have a dance party, read books together, participate in silly activities like tickling each other’s tummies, etc. They will realize that it is possible for them to be able to play together and have fun. This can also apply for children who are older and possibly more competitive with one another.
Make sure each child gets an equal amount of attention whether it’s during conversations at dinner time or even the number of hugs and kisses they get a day.
As a mom, you know how hard it is to get some free or spare time after a busy day or week. But planning some one-on-one time with each child can help prevent resentment, jealousy and meltdowns later on. Try to schedule a few hours where you two can spend some alone time. You can go to lunch together, go to the movies or for ice cream, or even take an arts and crafts class. Dedicating some time to them individually will help prevent them from feeling they aren’t getting enough attention or feeling jealous of their sibling. Quality time will reassure them that although things have changed a little at home, they are still special to you, and you will always have a special place for them in your heart. They will see that no matter how busy you are, you will always make time for them.
These tips should make the experience of raising siblings easier! What are some techniques you’ve tried with your little ones as they adjusted to new younger siblings?