Guide to help your older children adjust to a new baby

Guide to help your older children adjust to a new baby
Having a new baby is very exciting for most children. But it can also cause mixed feelings. The new baby is the new focus in the family. Many older children feel a bit jealous and left out.

Here are some ways to help your older children adjust to a new baby:

Help them learn about babies before the baby comes.

Take them to visit friends with small babies. This can help children learn that a new baby will not be able to play with them for a while. Show them books with pictures and stories about babies.

Talk about all the things they can do that baby cannot do. Your “big” children can walk and talk and sing and play. Help them to feel pleased and proud of themselves.

Make changes and plans ahead of time.

If you plan to move an older child to a new room or to buy a new bed and give the crib to the baby, do it for a few weeks or months before the baby comes. Then your children will not link these changes with the new baby. They will not feel that the baby is taking things away from them.

No child likes it when Mommy goes away. Let your children know what will happen and who will take care of them while you are away having the baby. Leave a list of meals, nap times, bedtimes, likes, and dislikes for the person who will be looking after your children. Try to keep their lives as normal as you can while you are away. If it is allowed, have your children visit you and the baby in the hospital. Do not be upset if your children are not very happy with you when you come home. It may take time for them to accept that you left them.

Give children time to get used to the new baby.

This is a big change! Be patient. Older children often try to get attention by acting like a baby. Do not punish them for this. Let them know that you love them just the way they are.

Bring a present from the baby home from the hospital with you.

Try not to make too big a fuss over the baby. Don’t use the baby as a reason for not doing something for the other children. Try not to say “Be quiet, you’ll wake the baby” or “Be careful of the baby” too often.

Let your children help with the baby if they want to. But don’t force it. And don’t put your children in a situation where they could hurt the baby, even by accident.

Each parent should try to spend time alone with older children. They need to know that they are still special and loved.

Many parents don’t feel instant love for a new baby. Neither will brothers and sisters. Bonding with a new baby takes time. Children who feel loved will find it easier to love their new sister or brother.
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