Many parents have wondered what their older children will feel when they find out that a new sibling is on the way, whether they will feel a mixture of joy, jealousy or anguish at the thought that mom and dad won’t have much time for them anymore. Antonella Galli, a psychologist at our clinic, gives us valuable recommendations to prepare our older children and involve them in this long process of the arrival of a new baby.
- How to tell them the news. You can tell your child a story that tells the whole process from when the mother has the baby inside her womb until the baby is born, the care the baby must receive and how once the baby grows up, he/she will become a playmate. This way, the child will know the whole sequence of events that will occur and will not be surprised to see mommy so busy when the baby is born.
- How to handle jealousy. It is natural for the child to feel jealous when seeing all the attention the baby receives. To prevent jealousy from growing, the mother can take advantage of when the baby sleeps or ask for help to spend time with the older brother, play for a while, go to the park, etc. In this way, your child will feel that he/she still has her/his mother’s attention.
- Meeting the new little baby. Prepare a welcome party with presents for the baby and also for the older child, telling him/her that the baby is giving it to him/her. Thus, the child will feel part of the celebration, where there is attention for the baby and also for him. Take pictures of both of them, so the child will remember the baby’s arrival as a happy event.
- How to get them involved. The older brother/sister can be allowed to help in some activities according to his/her age, such as: changing clothes, ordering the baby’s items, telling the baby a story, taking the baby for a ride in the car, making him/her play little by little while the baby grows .
Recommendation for the first days:
- The mother also has an adaptation process and must recover physically and emotionally. For this, the support of the couple and the family is essential, by helping with the care of the older child.
- It is very important for the child to continue with his/her usual activities, so that he/she does not feel that the arrival of the baby has disrupted his/her routine. If he/she took a workshop, he/she must continue attending and if it is not possible, they can carry out any recreational activity with the family.
- Pay attention to mood swings, as your child may be more irritable, annoyed, or talkative. It is a normal process, he/she is assimilating the idea of sharing his/her parents, it only requires attention and, above all, high doses of love and patience.
Psychologist at Clínica Ricardo Palma