Congratulations on the new member of your family! I am sure everyone, including your first child, is excited about the new child. Adjusting the first child with the newborn is highly challenging for some. The sole reason is the division of attention. Earlier, the full pie of attention was for the elder kid, but as the younger one steps in, you will have to divide your attention, which may be annoying and the first child may feel insecure. This situation should be dealt with caution and tenderness. We need to find ways for Helping the Firstborn adjust to a new sibling.
Here are some tips which you can implement for adjusting the two kids with each other:
- Start early: As in Hindi saying, the development of a child starts in mother’s womb; similarly the adjustment process of the first child with the new comer should begin from pregnancy period. Talking to the elder kid about the new-comer will make him excited and he will be more welcoming at and after the time of childbirth. Make plans involving the elder kid about the new child.
- Involve him in work and praise him: Engaging the kid with the petty tasks of the new-one will not only help both kids mingle, but even ease your work. Let your elder one help you while you bathe the new-one, let him put some soap and water on the legs of the child. Ask him to get cotton, diapers, clothes and toys for the child. For the little tasks your elder one do, do not forget to praise him. Tell him he is a responsible and caring sibling.
- Spend some alone time: No matter how excited your elder-one is, you should understand that his time is divided, and he may develop some ill feelings for the baby for having to share you or daddy. It is important that you spend some time alone with him. Play with him, help him study or anything which is appreciated by him. He should not feel that he is ignored due to his sibling.
- Narrate him stories about his new role: Be a story- teller. Tell him stories about his role, and of good and joyous time spent with siblings. Stories in which the elder child takes pride of helping and caring for the younger one will also imbibe good mood and feelings. If he consider any or both of his parents as ideal, then tell stories of your childhood and the love and care you shared with your siblings.
- Attend both kids together: Attending and engaging both the kids together can help you manage things better at home with two kids around. For instance, while feeding the younger one, engage and supervise the elder in doing some activity, puzzle or book. Work on strengthening the bond between both kids from the beginning. You can let the elder one carry his sibling on bed, and take some nice photographs. Praise the elder one in front of younger child, for all good deeds done.
You may also like to read 5 Parenting mistakes to avoid for emotional well being of child.
Apart from the above tips, you should take care of ‘NOT DOING’ the following:
- Don’t ask your elder kid to act BIG. After all, even he is a child and needs attention and time.
- Don’t ignore your elder kid. This may make him feel insecure and he may even feel jealous from his sibling.
- Don’t scold the elder child in front of his sibling.
- Don’t leave the new born alone with the elder kid. Someone should be there to supervise them.
- Don’t let the connection with your elder one loosen-up. Listen to him. Ask him how he feels about his sibling. Expect him to say even negative stuff about the small one, and listen to it.
I hope these points will help mom's to adjust their child to new sibling and thus strengthening the children bond forever.
You may also like to read Tips for helping and supporting a Shy Child.