Your new bundle of joy arrives. You have been waiting for this moment for what seems like an eternity and are finally holding your new baby for the first time. But your much dreamed-of moment when you older child meets his or her new sibling doesn’t always go the way you had imagined. Feelings of jealousy and neglect are common in older siblings and this can lead to some pretty frustrating behavior after the new one’s arrival. As a mom, you know this new baby is not a replacement, but your other child certainly feels left out and jealous of the new baby. What do you do? Fortunately, there are few sure-fire ways to make you “big” kid feel special again.
Include Them with as Much as Possible
Including your child with the baby with as much as you can be likely one of best ways to overcome feelings of jealousy. Depending on how young your other child is, you can ask if they would like to help you feed the baby. Your child sees you feed, bathe, play, and rock her new sibling. Of course, by the time all of that is said and done, it’s late in the afternoon, and your energy is slim-to-none. Having your child help with the baby will involve you and her as a team, caring for her new sibling. This can lead to a new bond between the three of you.
Have Dad Step In
When your new bundle of joy arrives, it’s best to try your hardest to make quality time with your other child. Dad can step in and watch the baby for a couple of hours while you go to the park, go shopping, or anything else that your older child wants to do. Spending time together will re-strengthen that bond that you had before the baby came along and let your child know that you still can make time for her.
Reminders of His/Her Skills
Older sis is ahead of little sibling with physical and cognitive skills, so keep reminding her of all that she can do. Remind her of the things the baby can’t do but she can, such as helping mommy, brushing her teeth, or even eating ice cream. Make sure to say, “It’s awesome being the older one, isn’t it?” Doing this will make her feel special. Find some time to do a special big-kid project with her that remind her how fun it is to be “big”.
… But Try Not to Forget Her Needs
Even though she is the older sis, she’s certainly not old enough. It’s best not to force her to grow up too quickly as the years fly by fast enough. Try to avoid saying things like, “You’re a big girl now so you can do that.” If she needs something reasonable, remember to pay attention to her needs as well.
Forget Those Pesky Chores
It’s okay to let loose once in a while. You are allowed to feel overwhelmed. You have a brand new baby, plus another child who both depend on you. Remember, they are only this little once. If you don’t get that last load of laundry in while the baby is sleeping, or if you don’t get done all the dishes – it’s fine! Enjoy that free time to spend with your oldest. Making her feel special and secure is more important than washing that last dish in the sink or tending to the last load of laundry.
Take Care Of Yourself
At this difficult time, it’s important not to neglect your own needs. Both your older child and the new baby need Mom to be healthy & happy so make time to engage in a little self-care and don’t be too hard on yourself but not “doing enough”. You’re doing enough, mama! Bravo for being supermom!
How did you help your big kid cope with a new sibling? We would love to hear!