Learning how to share the world (and mummy’s time) with a sibling is no easy feat. If your little one is not adjusting to your new arrival as well as you had hoped, try not to stress. It happens ALL THE TIME.
From one mum to another, here’s what you can do to help your now eldest child learn to accept and embrace the new title of “big brother or big sister”.
‘Chuck The Baby In The Bin’
For some families, the notion of sibling love is far from reality.
My son requested that we “chuck the baby in the bin” when he first met his little sister and remained adamant that she was disposable for many weeks (okay, months).
Put Yourself In Your Child’s Shoes
Imagine how you would feel if your husband announced that he was getting another wife – one that is like you but smaller, younger and cuter. When the three of you are out together, people are infatuated by the new wife. Even when you are alone, your partner and his new wife spend a lot of time together. Sometimes you are invited to sit on the floor and play puzzles while they cuddle but, the new wife hardly leaves your husband’s side.
Sucks, right? While not all children feel this way, some do. And this jealousy, confusion and anger can turn your normally sweet big child into an angry ball of emotions.
The good news is there are ways to help persuade your eldest to come around and actually accept that this new baby is here to stay.
Here’s What You Can Do…
1. Throw A Party!
This is what Pink did when her daughter Willow was having a hard time coping with the arrival of her little brother, Jameson.
Pink shared the photos of Willow’s Big Sister Party which was created as a way for Willow to feel just as special as the new addition.
2. Get Down To The Emotional Side Of Things
The most frustrating thing for your eldest child right now is that he probably doesn’t quite understand why he feels the way he does.
He’s angry. He’s jealous. He’s sad. He’s frustrated. And all of these awful emotions came to surface because of the new baby.
It’s so important for parents to understand that this may be how your little one is feeling. However, it is important for parents not to dismiss these emotions as silly. Rather accept them and help your little one accept them. Talk about WHY he feels like this and how (together) we can change these emotions and feelings to more positive ones.
3. Create A Code Word
Start by asking your little one to pick out a ‘secret word’ that he can say whenever he starts to feel mad or jealous. This may help him vocalise these feelings, helps you understand how he is feeling and also gives you and him a special word that no one (especially his new brother or sister), knows.
4. Make Sure Your Eldest Doesn’t Have To Share Everything
Sharing you is hard enough. It’s important that your oldest still feels like he has his own space, his own toys and his own time with you that the new baby cannot take away from him.
5. Focus On The Positives
Keep reminding him of the good things about having a new addition – he now has someone who will play superheroes with him, someone to make Lego cars with and someone to ride bikes with.
6. Pay Attention When Your Eldest Is Being Nice To The Baby
Ask your eldest to help you with the new baby. If he doesn’t want to just yet, that’s okay. Give him time. When he does help or when you catch him being kind, praise him for it. Don’t use this kindness as bribery or as a reason to reward him, but make sure he knows that you appreciate this kind behaviour.
7. Ask For Help
Use the resources around you – your spouse, your friends, your family. Ask them to watch the baby for an hour while you play alone with your little one or go on an afternoon playdate to the park, movies or play centre.
If your little one doesn’t seem to be getting better or is displaying signs of anxiety and aggression, talk to a professional. Again, they are here to help everyone in the household adjust to the new addition.