How to Help Your Child Adjust To A New Sibling
Parents are often surprised by the reactions of their children to a newborn when, before the arrival, everyone was equally as excited to welcome a new sibling. Quite often, a child may react negatively when the new baby arrives. He might regress in his own behavior such as having frequent temper tantrums, regression in toilet training, using “baby talk”, and demanding more attention in various ways. A child might tell his parents to send the baby back, or even try to hurt the baby.
In all the excitement parents sometimes forget that everyone’s life changes with the arrival of a new baby, especially a young child. A child often thinks he has been replaced somehow, and this can cause atypical behavior, emotions and outbursts.
Here are some tips to help parents help their child adjust.
- · Allow your child to help with the care of the baby, but only if your child is interested. For example, “would you like to help wash the baby?” and show your child how he can gently use the wash cloth.
- · Ask your child to help you make decisions for the baby, “Do you think the baby would like this blue bib or that green bib?”
- · Watch the baby’s movements together and discuss what you see, “Oh look the baby is following you with his eyes, or he smiled when you clapped your hands.” Your child will feel more involved this way.
- · Read stories that have different scenarios of new baby arrivals, and ones that you think your child can relate to and understand.
- · Validate your child’s feeling, be supportive and understanding, and try not to tell him to be impatient with his reactions or outbursts.
- · Try to spend time alone with your child each day. Remember your child might be thinking the new baby has replaced your attention and affection for him.
- · Engage other family members to spend some special time with your child, grandparents, a favorite friend or relative.
- · Most importantly, do not force your child to interact with his new sibling; children adjust and will come around on their own.
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