While it can be incredibly exciting and fulfilling to add a new member to your family, it can be tough for existing children to adjust to this new baby’s presence.
Some kids experience anxiety about their place in the family, while others find it hard to understand why old routines have changed.
Here are nine tips that will make the transition smoother and less stressful.
1. Discuss The Baby In Some Depth
Your children should be suitably prepared for the arrival of a new baby, and warning them in advance gives them plenty of time to ask questions. It may be helpful to say a little about why you think a new baby will be a good thing, and you should take care to indicate that the baby will in no way replace they children you already have.
They might find it reassuring to hear about how the baby will grow up to a playmate, not a competitor for your love.
2. Model Good Sibling Relationships
If you only have one child, it might be tough to explain the closeness and enjoyment that can come from sibling relationships. It might be worth noting how much you or your partner have benefited from having brothers or sisters or even to point out good examples of sibling bonds on television shows.
The goal is to make the idea of having a brother or sister seem both real and appealing, not alien and daunting.
3. Talk About When Your Children Were First Born
It can be easier for children to understand the needs and behaviors of a new baby if you reference the experiences you shared back when they were babies themselves. Using pictures and favorite anecdotes, you can effectively communicate that babies need a lot of assistance and care before they develop the abilities required to talk and movie independently.
In addition to making sense of what you’ll need to do for the baby, these explanations highlight the time-limited nature of the baby’s monopolization of your time.
4. Invite Curiosity
If your children feel like they aren’t allowed to talk about their misgivings or share their insecurities, this sense will undermine their bond with you and blow their fears out of proportion.
Make sure your kids know they can ask anything they want about the process of adding a new baby to the family, and note that it’s also find to approach you for a cuddle, kiss or other type of closeness that they find comforting.
5. Emphasize Their Ability To Help
Children can feel more significant and relevant if you involve them in caring for the baby. Of course, it’s important to only ask them to do things that are safe and responsible, but there are plenty of options. From assisting with nappy changing to choosing new outfits and soothing the baby to sleep, there is plenty you can ask your children to do.
Make sure you consistent praise them and thank them for how much they’re helping both you and the baby.
6. Note That There Is Enough Love For Everyone
It’s very common for children to fret about the idea of their parents having a finite love, wondering if a new baby will ‘steal’ the love that used to be theirs.
If you think this is worrying your child or children, it might help to explicitly state that your love has no limitations and you will always love them just as much as the new member of the family.
7. Allocate Special Time To Spend Together Without The Baby
If you can arrange to have a couple hours with your other child or children (while your partner or other relatives care for the baby), you can take this opportunity to maintain the special bond you
Your decision to allocate time to spend with just them rather than the baby also sends a clear message about their importance and value.
8. Be Patient
There will of course be times when your children talk too loud or drop something that wakes the baby, but try to keep your temper in check. Unfortunately, this can make children feel fearful and undervalued in the early days of coming to accept a new baby.
If you overreact, explain that you are tired and do understand that they just want to help.
9. Talk About The Future
A new baby can be frustratingly difficult for other children to interact with, so make sure they understand how they can help the baby grow and develop over time.
For example, you can talk about games they’ll play, things they can teach the baby and all the reasons why the baby will come to look up to them.