Helping Your Firstborn Adjust to Your Newborn
Before a newborn comes, firstborns are used to be the only object of attention. They also get excited about the stories of how they will have a new playing buddy and how much fun it will be. However, once the newborn is around, what seemed so exciting is no longer fun. The newborn takes away all your time and attention, and your toddler starts to jealous.
Here are a few ways to help your firstborn feel included and how to set the stage for a healthy sibling relationship
1. Teach them
Your priority is to protect the baby. You need to teach your older child how to interact properly with the newborn. Teach him how to play with the baby. Be encouraging and offer guidelines until he or she gets it right.
Don’t leave the children alone for a long time. Hover close by just to monitor their interactions. Be wise on how you handle the emotions of your firstborn while still protecting your newborn.
3. Teach soft touches
Teach your firstborn how to rub the baby on the back since back rubbing soothes the baby. Praise them when they do a good job.
4. Act quickly
When you see your child hit or act roughly towards the baby, act immediately. Make it known to them that rough actions are not permitted.
Children learn from watching you. Expect your firstborn to be watching how you handle your baby and learn from your actions. You are the most important teacher for your child and your child will learn mostly from your demonstrations.
Praise your older child when he or she touches your newborn in a gentle manner. Make positive comments. Hug them. Kiss them and tell them how proud of them you are.
7. Watch your words
Children don’t like it when you blame everything on the baby. When they have to go to the back, because “the baby is sleeping” or when they have to keep quiet because “they will wake the baby”. Yes, you shouldn’t allow them to act inconsiderately towards the baby but remember that he or she is also a child that needs your attention as well.
8. Be supportive
Acknowledge your child’s unspoken feelings and keep your comments mild and general. When your child knows that you understand their feelings, they will not feel the urge to act up to get attention.
9. Give extra love
Increase your demonstrations of love towards your child however little they may be. The extra I love yous and hugs go a long way.
10. Get them involved
Teach your firstborn how to help with the baby including how to entertain them. Sprinkling powder and opening baby gifts should be their responsibility.
11. Make each child feel special
You should never compare siblings. Topics that seem harmless like weight tend to do the most emotional damage since children will take them as criticisms.
Adjusting to a newborn is difficult for everyone, even for you. So don’t overwhelm your family with too many outside activities. Focus on helping everyone adjust to the new family size. In a month or two, your family will adjust to its new situation and you will be back on track soon with a good daily routine.