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  • December 20, 2014

LN Parenting - Ladue News: Special Features

LN Parenting

The New Arrival

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Posted: Thursday, July 3, 2008 12:00 am

The arrival of a new baby can be an exciting time. It can also be an especially trying time, when the new member demands attention and round-the-clock care. You can count on one thing: The older sibling may not be as thrilled as Mom and Dad are with this new addition.

There are many things you can do to ensure a smooth, happy transition. But first, think about what is being asked of the older sibling. You expect them to be excited, to love this new child as you do, to share their toys, books, clothes, rooms, and yes, even to share their parents.

The age of the sibling can definitely impact the response. Young children, ages 1 to 5, tend to feel dethroned much more than older ones. Thus, preparation is the key, which is why you want to consider enrolling them in a sibling class at your local hospital. Children must be at least 2 years old to participate. Other things you can do before the baby arrives: Take out pictures and baby items from his or her birth and make a big fuss over how special that time was.

This simple activity can have a direct effect on the sibling’s level of acceptance. Months before the baby is born, begin to gradually allow the sibling to take charge of some of their self-care. Teach them small responsibilities depending on their developmental age. Make sure the sibling is connected with an outside activity (playgroup, Mom’s Day Out, etc.), which becomes a place of refuge when the baby arrives. Some things to avoid with younger children include calling them ‘big sister’ or ‘big brother.’ Most younger children do not understand the term ‘big’; they take it literally.

Children will initially want to be helpful, yet when you begin to expect their help, you may meet resistance. So don’t count on them, but appreciate their assistance when/if they do choose to help. Older children can provide more assistance to you during the transition, helping with bottles, diapers, etc. They typically want to be a part of the baby’s care.

• WHEN BABY IS BORN, PUT A PICTURE OF THE SIBLING IN THE HOSPITAL BED.

It is a great way for children to recognize his or her new sibling in the nursery. Have them be a part of announcing the birth of their new sibling to family and friends, maybe even via bubble gum cigars. As guests begin to visit, place a sign on the door, asking people to say hi to the older sibling first. It may be a small thing, but most adults focus on the baby and lose sight of the older child pretty quickly.

• HAVE SOME SMALL ITEMS TUCKED AWAY TO GIFT THE OLDER SIBS WHEN PEOPLE BRING BABY GIFTS.

When the baby comes home, try your best to get back to the basic routines, like bedtime, bathtime and mealtime. Take time to teach the basic safety of handling the baby. Give ‘mini mom moments,’ like reading their favorite book, baking cookies together—anything to reconnect to the sibling will help everyone feel good about the new arrival.

• AFTER EVERYONE SETTLES IN, HAVE GRANDMA OR GRANDPA STAY WITH BABY SO YOU CAN HAVE A LITTLE ONE-ON-ONE TIME WITH THE SIBLING.

Avoid using ‘the baby’ as the reason you can or cannot do things around the house. Instead of, “I can’t get you a drink right now, I am feeding the baby,” use concrete examples: “As soon as dad gets home we can” or, “When your show is over, we will read the book.”

• EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE, WHEN BOTH BABY AND SIB NEED SOMETHING, MEET THE SIBLING’S NEEDS FIRST.

Say, “Baby, I will be right there. I am helping your brother. He needs his mommy, too.” Something as simple as that can reestablish their sense of belonging in the family because they see that their needs are just as important.

• BE KIND TO YOURSELF.

Make adequate sleep, not chores, a priority. We all know how difficult it is to be patient with only two or three hours of sleep. It is important to remember to be kind to the older siblings; they have lost their sense of belonging temporarily, but with patience, they will regain it. Most children adjust within the first eight weeks after the baby’s birth.

3WHEN BABY IS BORN, PUT A PICTURE OF THE SIBLING IN THE HOSPITAL BED.

It is a great way for children to recognize his or her new sibling in the nursery. Have them be a part of announcing the birth of their new sibling to family and friends, maybe even via bubble gum cigars. As guests begin to visit, place a sign on the door, asking people to say hi to the older sibling first. It may be a small thing, but most adults focus on the baby and lose sight of the older child pretty quickly.

3HAVE SOME SMALL ITEMS TUCKED AWAY TO GIFT THE OLDER SIBS WHEN PEOPLE BRING BABY GIFTS.

When the baby comes home, try your best to get back to the basic routines, like bedtime, bathtime and mealtime. Take time to teach the basic safety of handling the baby. Give ‘mini mom moments,’ like reading their favorite book, baking cookies together—anything to reconnect to the sibling will help everyone feel good about the new arrival.

• AFTER EVERYONE SETTLES IN, HAVE GRANDMA OR GRANDPA STAY WITH BABY SO YOU CAN HAVE A LITTLE ONE-ON-ONE TIME WITH THE SIBLING.

Avoid using ‘the baby’ as the reason you can or cannot do things around the house. Instead of, “I can’t get you a drink right now, I am feeding the baby,” use concrete examples: “As soon as dad gets home we can” or, “When your show is over, we will read the book.”

• EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE, WHEN BOTH BABY AND SIB NEED SOMETHING, MEET THE SIBLING’S NEEDS FIRST.

Say, “Baby, I will be right there. I am helping your brother. He needs his mommy, too.” Something as simple as that can reestablish their sense of belonging in the family because they see that their needs are just as important.

• BE KIND TO YOURSELF.

Make adequate sleep, not chores, a priority. We all know how difficult it is to be patient with only two or three hours of sleep. It is important to remember to be kind to the older siblings; they have lost their sense of belonging temporarily, but with patience, they will regain it. Most children adjust within the first eight weeks after the baby’s birth.

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