Share the love ... please?
We all worry about how an elder child will cope with having to share their parents’ love, time and attention when a new baby comes along. There are going to be emotional reactions, that we can be sure of, but, there’s also the concern that a jealous toddler might physically hurt the newcomer that’s taking over the parents they never thought they’d have to share.
Praise, presence and preparationIf you’re wondering how to prepare an elder child to cope with sharing your love when the new baby comes, here are a few ideas to smooth the road ahead.
- Talk about the family having a baby (not just the parents).
- Let your child choose clothes or a toy for the baby.
- Have the baby give a special gift to their big brother or sister.
- Give praise for being kind, helpful and patient.
- Bring out different toys or activities as a treat during breastfeeding.
- If your child wants to help, give them a simple task like getting the nappies.
- Have quality time with your eldest when the baby is fed and settled but still present.
- Empathise with your child’s emotions as they adjust to the change.
Help is here
We wrote the bestselling book, Baby on the Way, to make that tricky job of parenting a whole lot easier when there’s a new baby on the way and a big-sibling-to-be to prepare.
The story engages kids in the preparation for a new baby’s arrival by including them in the process, creating predictability around changes, bringing understanding for how it might affect them, and discovering what your family can do to adapt together.
Working with child development experts, practical language, ideas, activities, and strategies are woven into the story to help you and your child handle your next big moment.
We’ve included the tips from this article plus more key messages from our experts at the back of the book to help you understand how kids might see things differently, what they’ll need most, and give you the tools you need to smooth the road ahead.
You can check out a fully personalised preview of ‘Baby on the Way’ here, or find it in a good NZ bookshop near you!
Hannah Davison is the author and co-founder of My Big Moments. Join ‘the village’ on Instagram at @mybigmoments for free practical help and support for parents and caregivers.