Helping your Child adjust to the New Baby

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You are over the moon with the arrival of your second child and you are excited that your older child will finally have a sibling to love and to play with. Things seem to be picture perfect, except for the fact that your older child simply does not want the new baby in the house and wants to know when ‘it’ will be sent off. You hear talks of giving away the baby to someone in sulky tones and your child resents you even touching the strange intruder. Remember that having another baby in the house is one of the toughest situations that your child has faced in his life and it’s perfectly normal for him to feel threatened by a new sibling. It is up to you as parents to help your older child adjust to the fact that your family is growing and to show him how to love his baby brother or sister. Here are some thoughts:

  • It is best that you start preparing your child as soon as you know that you are expecting again. Let him know the big news from you and not from any other sources. Tell him stories of his birth and how he was inside your tummy for nine months. Assure him that you will always; love him and be there for him and that as a big “bhaiyya’ he should help you welcome the new baby into the family.
  • Give your child a realistic picture as to what to expect, that his mama may be tired and he will have to help her by doing his chores himself how the new baby will not be much ‘fun’ at first and will most probably be crying feeding and pooing in turns.
  • Let him participate in your godh bharai (baby shower) functions and help you sort out the gifts for the baby. The idea is to get your child used to the fact that the baby is going to be a part of your family.
  • Once the baby arrives make sure that you spend quality one on one time with your older child for at least 10 minutes a day whatever the other demands on your time might be. This will assure him that he still has a big part in your life.
  • Let big bhaiyya help out with the baby. He can do age appropriate tasks like get the baby’s clothes, etc only if he prefers. Take a cue from your child, don’t force him.
  • When well meaning maamis and mausis and maamas descend in by the dozen to coo over the new baby, make sure that your older one is not left out. Gently and discreetly request your relatives and friends to spend some time with your older child as well. This will ensure that he is not left out.
  • Listen to what your child has to say. Understand his fears and inhibitions related to the new baby. Baby him a little if that will make him feel better, Let him be mamas little boy once again. Don’t expect your child to be ‘big boy’ and be independent overnight.

If you are planning to shift your older child to different room. Then it’s better to do it before the actual birth. This way he will not feel ‘abandoned’. It is even better if you can get his nanny or daadi or even papa to sleep in his room for a few days.

kanica
Thought will share my experience on this; we had our daughter about 10 months ago when my son was only 2. No amount of preparation had helped because he was too small to comprehend what was going on. And sure enough when we had the baby he grew agitated, clingy and extremely insecure. He has even tried hurting the baby for "taking away his mama". Its only now that he is nearing 3 and the baby is a little older that he has started to enjoy her company. The other thing we did in addition to asking friends and family to give due attention to the older one, was bring a small gift for the older child as well; however small even a pack of balloons. That helped a lot.