The birth of a new baby creates both excitement and fear among parents. For your firstborn child, the centre of the attention is shifted. It is enough to turn your little angels to green-eyed monsters. Yet, with proper guidance, even young children can be taught to be responsible older siblings. Want to know the secret?
First things first! Let your child know what a baby is and how they act. Explain that babies cry a lot and they require constant attention. Educating them is important, it prepares them for the baby and set their expectations for the things to come.
With a new member of the family, it may be confusing for your child. You should not let your worries (eg, neglecting your elder child) get in the way of the joyous news. Facing it with a positive attitude will teach the elder sibling that the arrival of a younger brother or sister is an exciting change to look forward to.
Despite the precautions you take, sometimes things may not work out ideally and your child may still feel neglected. Always remember to check on them, allow them to express their emotions and teach them that they can trust you. Use emotion words, such as “sad”, “angry” and “happy” will help them to express their emotions through words rather than explosive actions and behaviours.
Letting your child know that they will always be loved and appreciated goes a long way. When a new child comes along, it will be difficult to give the same amount of time to the elder sibling. It is important that they know that you are not doing this because you care less, but because babies need more to be spoon fed!
For older and more mature children, it can be taught that the introduction of an additional family member also implies greater responsibilities. Ideally, elder siblings will have to lead by example such as showcasing good behaviour, guiding the younger ones and being a loving figure. Apart from acclimatising the child to his or her new role of being a responsible older sibling, you may also find that it will bond the family with the new infant.
Having a new child can be daunting, it brings about a new set of challenges compared to the first. However, it is also an exciting change for the entire family to look forward to. By preparing your family, especially your little ones, you can ensure that the entrance of a new family member will bring great joy and harmony.