Having a new addition to the family can be a very exciting time. It is vital to ensure all members of the family are prepared to welcome home your new bundle of joy. This includes your older children, who may find it more difficult to accept the new baby. For kids who have been the only child and are used to being the centre of attention of their parents for a long time, this period of transition to being a sibling may be a challenging time.
Your older child may be distressed or worried that they will no longer receive your love and affection like before. Especially for older children such as 10-year-olds who are used to being an only child for a lot longer. There may even be early sibling rivalry. As a parent, there are some things you can do to ease your older child’s uncertainties and build up a healthy sibling relationship.
Before the Baby Arrives
When you are pregnant, it is important to inform your older child about the new arrival. Your child needs to hear the news directly from you, not from another relative like an aunt or a grandparent. Be sure to also take into consideration the age and maturity of your child, and be prepared for any curious questions about the baby.
When answering questions, you do not have to be too detailed, especially for younger kids who may become confused. Explaining to your child can be as simple as “the baby is coming from mummy’s tummy” and leave it at that. You can show your child your past pregnancy pictures or their own baby pictures. That way, your older child can see that when they were younger, they also started off the same way as the new baby. Tell them what they were like as a baby.
You can also read to them age-appropriate children’s books about babies and siblings to get them used to the idea of being an older brother or sister. If you have not picked out a name for the new baby, you can get your older child to help out in the naming and tell them about a few choices that you like. Overall, be open to your child and try to let your child get as involved as possible in the whole process of welcoming home the baby.
When the Baby Arrives
With a new addition to the family, things are going to get busier and more hectic for sure. You may find that you do not have as much time to spend with your older child anymore. To make up for this, be sure to set aside some time each day to do something for your child. Make sure that you will be uninterrupted and consider this your child’s special time. You can even let them lead the way in deciding what activity to carry out.
Next, you should also stick to past routines as much as you can. For example, having playtime together or reading a bedtime story. This is a tumultuous time of change for your older child and following old routines can help reassure them. After all, your child will also need to readjust to their new role as an older sibling in the family.
However, you need not worry too much about the transition. According to a review of research from Dr. Volling, not all children exhibit changes in behaviour to having a new sibling. In fact, for those who do show changes, not all of those changes are negative. These effects largely depend on each individual child’s personality and age, as well as their home environment.
For more information on caring for your children, please check Motherhood.com.my.