Expecting a new arrival to the family? If you’ve already got a child, they’ll have to learn fast that they can no longer be the centre of attention – they now have a sibling to contend with. Here’s how you can get your firstborn used to the situation of having a brother/sister.
Encourage Independence Early On
Your firstborn is going to have to get used to being more independent as your new child will naturally require more attention.
Try to get your firstborn used to this independence before their sibling comes along so that it’s not such a shock.
Children above the age of three may already have enough independence, but children younger than this may need to learn that they can’t always be carried or sit on your knee.
Spend Solo Time With Them
Your partner may end up giving your eldest child most the attention they need, but it’s important that you still spend solo time with your firstborn (at which point your partner can look after your youngest child). Schedule activities for just the two of you so that you’re still getting your bonding time.
Give Them A Job
You can help your firstborn to feel less left out by getting them involved in the role of parenting.
If they’re still a toddler, you won’t be able to give them too much responsibility, however you could still get them to help bring things for you such as nappies or toys to make your life easier and make them feel useful.
Encourage Them To Play Mummy
If your eldest is a girl, they may even try to copy you by trying to play mum.
Allow them to do this and consider buying toys such as a dolls pram so that they can push their own pram alongside you.
Also look into other doll accessories so that they can imitate other tasks such as feeding and putting the baby to sleep.
Discourage Baby Behaviour
Out of jealousy, your firstborn may try to act like a baby so that they’re getting the same attention as your youngest. They may ask you to bottle feed them or crawl and refuse to walk.
Discourage this attention-seeking behaviour and try to persuade them to act their age.
Do Things As A Family
Whilst it may be difficult in the newborn stage, you may find that you’re able to all play together once your youngest child starts to interact more with their environment and certainly when they’re able to crawl.
Your eldest child may try to entertain their sibling by singing and making faces and your youngest child may giggle in return. This is great behaviour to encourage, although you should ensure that they play nicely.
Try to plan group activities such as watching movies, reading stories and playing with toys – even if your youngest is too young to understand what’s going on, it will help your eldest child to feel like you’re all playing together and playtime doesn’t have to be taking in turns by both parents.
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