Having a brother or sister older than you can often be a great experience, especially when you are both older and able to share life’s experiences together, but in the beginning when a new baby arrives, older siblings can sometimes feel excluded.
It is perfectly understandable that a new baby brother is going to be the main focus of attention when they arrive but this can create a mixture of emotions in older siblings and they don’t always find it that easy to adjust with the new family dynamic.
Make them feel special too
It is very easy to become totally consumed with everything that goes with the birth of a new baby and there never seems to be a spare moment.
If you already have a child, especially one who is still under five years of age, they can find the introduction of somebody new who is taking all the attention away from them, quite difficult to deal with.
Take the time to plan a few special surprises for your child as part of their adjustment to an extended family, as this will help feel important too at this special time for your family. You can browse Zoeyspersonalizedgifts.com for some inspiration on what to get for them and if you arrange to give a gift to them that says it is from their new baby brother or sister, this can help to set the stage for many future acts of sibling love.
If you could put yourself inside your child’s head and saw what a major event the birth of a baby brother or sister was to them, it would help you to understand the emotions they are experiencing.
The arrival of a new sibling is something that is likely to totally rock their little world, particularly if they are still pre-school age and have not experienced lots of sharing and interaction up to this point with more than a few friends.
The introduction of a baby brother or sister almost resets the clock in terms of what they knew or experienced before and this is why even children with the kindest nature and disposition, can sometimes not react well to suddenly not being the focus of their parent’s attention.
A day out
It is not always easy to get the time or the help required from other family members, but if you can arrange a special day out for your older child without the new baby, this can quickly help to reinforce their feelings of being special.
You still love your older child as much as you ever did of course, but young ones often need some reassurance when a sibling arrives, so try to arrange a day out with a few treats.
If you can do this in the first few weeks or at least as soon as possible, a special day can often help them to come to terms with their new family role and give them the reassurance they need that you still have time for them.
Make sure you make good on your promise though. Saying you are going to treat them to a special day out and then not arranging it fairly shortly afterwards, could easily have the opposite effect and make them feel anxious or upset.
Emphasize the benefits of being the older child
Being the older child in the family is a unique and important role within the family and if you can get this message across to them, they can often grow into the role and enjoy the extra responsibility you are putting on them to look out for their younger brother or sister.
A modest investment in a t-shirt which tells the world that they are the big sister or brother can certainly make them feel special and often instills them with a sense of pride that they are playing such an important part in their family.
There are always plenty of photo opportunities with babies, so make sure you get a few pictures of your older child cuddling up with their new baby brother or sister.
A few pictures around the house of the two together will help to emphasize the sibling relationship that has just begun. Not all children instantly take kindly to pictures of their new brother or sister around the house, if they are still feeling a bit left out, but that will soon change and taking the time to give your older child a gift after the birth, will normally be a big help in their adjustment process.
Kate Cox is a blogger and a Mom of 3 kids. She writes for a growing number of parenting and Mommy blogs sharing her thoughts and funny stories.