How to Kid'splain "the new baby" to your other kids
Let's face it, as happy as we are to welcome a new bundle of joy into the world, your previous bundle of joy may not be so thrilled. Jealousy is a very common problem in siblings, especially if they feel like their place as the youngest has been usurped.
Luckily, there are lots of things you can do to help break the ice between the newest little one, and your other children. Here are a couple of tips to help your children embrace their new brother or sister—or at least not want to look up the return policy.
Explain the baby before it arrives
How you do so will be determined by how old the children are. A child under the age of 2 is unlikely to understand what another baby is. You can help smooth introductions by reading picture books about babies, and making sure that if living arrangements have to be changed for the baby, it's done before baby arrives. This means if a toddler needs to upgrade to a big boy/girl bed so the baby can have the crib, it's done before the little one arrives.
For older children, letting them know what a new baby entails can be helpful. Explain that the new baby won't be able to play right away, and will mostly eat, sleep and cry. Let them know you will go away for a little while, and then come back with the baby.
It's okay to slant things in the older children's favor
Jealousy is pretty common, and your baby will take up a great deal of your time. It's okay to help counter this by slanting things heavily in the older child's favor. The baby only gets one toy at Christmas, but you get 2! The baby can't have a piece of candy, but you can.
The baby doesn't care if it doesn't get to go on the merry-go-round, or that it has to take so many more naps than the older sibling does, but your older child certainly does care about these things. Helping your older child see all of their priviliges can help ease jealousy
Let your older child participate in baby care if they are interested
You might not be interested in hearing a story about a chicken nugget for 2 hours, but guess what? Baby would love to. They also love watching older children perform their tricks, and yes, they do want to see your child stack a set of blocks 567 times.
Showing off to the baby not only helps the baby learn essential skills, but it also helps them bond. That's not the only way even young children can help. They can bring you a diaper (and perhaps gloat a little while you are yelling for help during the poopocalypse), help push the baby in a stroller, and for older children, even help feed the baby.
Being allowed to help is something many kids enjoy, but it's important not to force them. Most kids will come around to a new baby, even if they don't feel the same joy you do.
Above all, make sure that your older children know they are not being replaced, and you still love them just as much as you did before. If possible, try to spend baby-free time with them, even if that means using a portion of those coveted naps to play a round of candy land.
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