Preparing Siblings for Baby's Arrival
Remind the older child that he or she is special, too.
- Create a certain space in the home that belongs exclusively to your older child. Parents and baby should respect this space.
- Reinforce your child's role in the family, especially as the older sibling.
- Give your older child "seniority" by providing special jobs at home so he or she can contribute to the family.
- Be sure to praise the older child when he or she behaves well or does good work.
- Giving your child an allowance may also be important, depending on his or her age.
- Spend time alone with your older child throughout the day and especially at bedtime.
- Encourage your child to have a doll or stuffed animal to "take care of."
- Purchase small gifts for your older child. When visitors bring a gift for the baby, give a previously purchased gift to your older child.
- When friends come to visit the new baby, parents should include the older child in conversations or activities. For example, your older child could show the new baby to visitors.
- Provide a planned activity for your older child while caring for the baby.
- One or both parents should have a planned activity outside of home with only the older child. There should be a routine weekly outing for the sibling (park, restaurant, or library).
Encourage independent behavior.
Some children enjoy knowing they are more capable of caring for themselves and seek ways of becoming more independent as a response to the baby. Teach the older child independent behavior (at play, dressing, or toileting), as appropriate for your child's age.