There’s an unmistakable bond between siblings that can provide a lifelong support system. To help facilitate bonding from day 1, it’s important to take an active role in the interactions between your eldest child and newborn. We’ve rounded up some of the best ways to both foster sibling love and keep your elder child from feeling isolated once the new baby arrives.
Give Your Child a Gift When the Baby is Born
Even before your baby is born, your home is going to be flooded with flowers, cards, and baby gifts. Your elder child is sure to notice and might start to feel a little left out. To make them feel special, give them a thoughtful gift when the baby is born to commemorate their becoming a sibling and show your eldest that the baby brings happy times for everyone.
Spend Time Alone with Your Elder Child
The number one reason that a child might be upset with a new baby coming into the house is that they are afraid they will be replaced or left out once the baby arrives. Their world up until has been entirely about them and now, someone else is going to be in the limelight. While most of your day will revolve around taking care of the baby, make sure you schedule time each week to play or read with your elder child to make them feel important. If you start to feel like they aren’t getting enough attention, call your babysitter to come play with your eldest for a few hours a week.
Try Not to Change Their Routine
While your life will undoubtedly change in a big way once the new baby is born, try not to switch up your child’s routine. Keep things like eating at a certain time, naptime, and bedtime the same so that they feel a sense of stability and know that everything is going to be ok. You should also not force them to go through any transitions for a few months after the baby is born — let this be a peaceful time for them.
Assign Your Child Responsibilities for the Baby
On a similar note, try to include your elder child in the baby’s activities by making them the “baby’s helper.” For a while, all that might mean is both of you gazing at the sweet little baby together. Eventually, though, they can help out with holding the baby, playing with the baby, prepping for mealtimes, and watching the baby while they rock in a swing for infants. One responsibility that your eldest can do from the beginning is to read their favorite books to the baby each night. It will be soothing to your baby to hear their sibling’s voice and will be good reading practice for your child.