It's hard to predict how your older children will react to your new baby; however, some jealousy should be expected. What form the jealousy takes will depend on the age of your child. However, it's entirely reasonable for kids to be a little confused and possibly insecure about a new baby. Here are some suggestions on how to make a smooth transition:
- Attend sibling classes offered at the hospital before the birth of your baby. Instructors will offer age-appropriate strategies for you, and they will explain to your children what happens at the hospital.
- Have your older children give a gift to the new baby that's especially from them. Also, have a gift ready to give back to your older children that is from the new baby.
- Keep your older children's routines as close to normal as possible. Big changes in children's routines make them feel insecure and may result in difficult behaviors.
- Once at home with your new baby, remember to spend individual time with each of your other children. THis will let them know how special they are to you.
- When feeding your newborn, have your toddler or older child sit next to you while you read or tell them a story. Another suggestion is to have them pretend to feed their doll or stuffed animal. Older children can be helped to feel responsible by having them answer the telephone or getting you something to drink while you're feeding the baby.
- Always tell your older children how lucky the new baby is to have such a wonderful big brother or sister.