Good news again? A new addition to your family on the way? It’s exciting for the parents no doubt but your firstborn might take the news with a pinch of salt. Firstborns often show signs of inferiority or jealousy when the second one is born and often resort to tantrums or very mischievous and stubborn acts to gain attention. As parents, you can prepare your children in order to make it a less traumatic experience for them and yourselves.
Here’s how you can do that:
- Share the good news with your child: Parents are often confused about when to share the good news with the firstborns. The answer is: before you tell the world, you tell your firstborn. You don’t want anyone else breaking the news by accident to them, do you? The earlier you tell your child the more time you get to prep them. You might face some uncomfortable questions like how it happened? Why can’t dad have a baby? Do answer them the way you choose to, and remember answering these questions can also pave the way to create acceptance for the new baby.
- One-on-ones with firstborn after birth of sibling: Having a new baby at home does get busy and messy! But however hectic the day is, do make time for some exclusive one-on-ones with the firstborn. Ask them about school, their day in general, tell them about yours, share a special moment you had with the baby. The more curiosity you instil in your child about the baby the more possibility of the child developing a bond rather than animosity towards the new sibling.
- Talk to tame tantrums: Kids often do and say the harshest of things when caught in a tantrum fit. This can be testing, but to make sure it doesn’t get worse, you have to choose a calmer and more patient way to deal with them. Remember, your child is hurting and you don’t want to make it worse. Ask your child what causes pain, is it that the new sibling is getting a bath or new toys, whatever it may be ask your child to come and talk to you when he/she feels bad or is hurt. If they’re young you cannot do more than just calming and comforting your child. Showing that he/she is as important as the new baby.
- Read stories about siblings: Keep your bedtime routine sacrosanct and use the time to read some stories about siblings. Involving them to help you with household chores or even in baby related activities, once the baby comes, is a great way to get them to accept the idea of a new sibling.
- Shorten day-to-day routines with your first child: You want your firstborn to be prepared for shorter routines like brushing teeth/bedtime story routine. For eg; is your child used to a long bedtime routine, start cutting it down, as when the baby comes along you won’t have that much time. It’s better to prepare your child for a shorter bedtime routine.