There’s a new kid on the block: how to help your first child adjust
January 30, 2019
It’s a question as old as time. How do you help your first-born baby handle the arrival of a new little brother and sister?
Some children will be over the moon, and very excited to meet the newcomer. Others might be confused, jealous, or anxious about losing your attention.
The good news is, your attitude will affect your child’s attitude. If you are positive, enthusiastic, and ready to talk – then your kid will be, too. Start talking about the new baby in a positive way now, so that your older child has lots of time to prepare and get excited.
How to help your first child adjust to a new baby
• Talk it out. Be ready for lots of questions about the new baby: what is its name? When does it arrive? What does it eat? Where will it sleep? You might not feel ready for the birds and the bees, but be prepared to answer questions in an age-appropriate way.
• Get the big brother or sister involved. Help your oldest child to feel part of a team with their parents. You could ask them for help picking out clothes or making the big announcement to friends and family. If they feel part of the process, they’ll feel more in control and prepared for what is happening.
• Buy a doll. It’s 2018 – dolls are for boys and girls! Get your oldest child a doll that they can snuggle, bathe, and play at feeding. They’ll get some practice before the new baby arrives, and feel very proud of their responsibility. Try watching movies and reading books which show happy sibling relationships, too.
• Get a gift for baby, too. Help your oldest child pick out a really special toy or blankie that they can present to the new baby. You can even give the new big brother or sister a present “from” baby!
• Make time for every child. Newborn babies are endlessly fascinating – and everyone will let your first child know. It’s easy for older siblings to feel lost in all the excitement, so make sure you still set time aside for cuddles, reading stories, and being together one-on-one.
And remember – patience is key! This is a transition that will take time. Be patient with yourself, be patient with your child, and take time to check in with each other regularly. If you can keep communication open, and stay positive, then your growing family will get on just fine.