The chances are if you’ve only got one child, no matter how old they are you think of them as your baby. Now, however, you’re having another baby and are starting to worry about how your older child will react to the news.
When a child has been an only child for their whole life, the idea of another baby coming along can be upsetting for them. It can also cause them to feel anxious and worried about what will change when their new sibling arrives. (This is true for kids of all ages, whether your oldest child is two-years-old or ten, they are most probably going to feel like this.)
Feelings of anxiety and worry often come out as jealousy – something that is perfectly normal. A lot of children are jealous of their younger siblings. Although a little jealousy is normal, it’s a good idea to do what you can to prevent your child from feeling this way, so that they are excited about the arrival of their new sibling and are able to build a close bond with them.
So, what are the best ways to prevent older kids getting jealous of their new sibling?
Tell Them How Important Their Role of Big Brother or Sister Is
When you tell your little one that you are going to have a baby, say something like ‘you are going to be a big brother/sister, isn’t that exciting?’. This will get them excited about becoming an older sibling and will start things off on the right foot. Explain to them how important being an older sibling is and how you know that they will make the best big brother or sister ever.
Teaching them what it means to be an older sibling may be difficult if they’re too young to really understand. However, there are a variety of books and DVDs aimed at different age ranges that are ideal for using to explain to your child what being an older sibling means.
Get them excited about their new role in the family by getting them a special present. This could be something that they’ve been wanting, or it could be something to do with becoming an older sibling, such as a t-shirt saying ‘World’s Best Big Sister,’ like Zoey’s Personalized Gifts offers. The more exciting you make the fact that you’re having a baby, the less likely they are to become jealous.
Give Them Lots of Love and Attention While You’re Pregnant
While you’re pregnant, make sure to give your little one lots of love and attention. Yes, you’re excited about the new baby coming, and that’s great, but try not to talk about it constantly, especially in front of your older child. Instead, focus on them, and do whatever you can to make them feel happy and excited about the arrival of their new sibling.
Plan fun days out together. Take them for a picnic in the park. Take them swimming. Do all the things that they love with them, and they will realize that just because you’re having a baby, that doesn’t have to mean that anything will change. The main reason kids act out when there is a new baby on the way is because they’re anxious about what it means for them and don’t want to lose the special bond they have with their parents. So by showing your little one that nothing has changed, you can make the idea of a new baby that little bit easier for them to deal with.
Another reason it’s important to spend lots of quality time with them before the new baby comes along is because once your new addition is here, life will get much more hectic. You will have less time to do fun things, and you won’t have as much energy either.
Encourage Your Partner to Build a Close Bond with Them
On that note, it’s a good idea to encourage your partner to build a close bond with your oldest child, so that when you’re busy with your new addition, your older child doesn’t feel pushed out.
There are going to be a lot of times when you are too busy looking after your new addition to do things with your older child, so it’s important that they start doing more with your partner now. So that when the new baby comes, they are still getting all the love and attention that they need.
Perhaps, if your partner doesn’t already, they could start putting your little one to bed, taking over some bathtimes, and making more time to play with your oldest child. That way, they will start to build a stronger bond with them, meaning that your child will be happier to do more with them instead of you when the new baby arrives.
Ask Friends and Family to Bring Gifts for Them, Not the New Baby
The chances are that when your friends and family come to visit you after your new addition has been born, they will bring gifts. However, to ensure that your older child doesn’t feel left out, perhaps you could ask them to bring gifts for them instead of the new baby? Or, maybe you could give out gifts for friends and family to give to your older child so that they don’t feel left out?
If your older child is made to feel as special as your new addition, he or she is much less likely to become jealous of them. So, it’s important to do all that you can to make them feel special and included, such as by introducing your new addition to friends and family as your child’s younger sibling. For instance, you could say something like ‘This is Sam’s younger brother, Sam is a great big brother.’ By including your older child in things, you will make them feel just as valued as your new addition.
A cute gesture could be to get your older child a present from his or her new sibling and give your older child a gift to give to the new baby. This tends to work well as the older child is more likely to like their new sibling if he gets a present from them.
It can be hard to prevent an older child from being jealous of a new baby. However, it is possible.