If you want your children to adjust to a new baby, there are some specific areas you have to be careful about, and some specific things you can do. The following are five tips for helping older siblings adjust to life with baby:
1. Plan for baby. The more you plan the better the adjustment will be. If your child is thrown off balance when the baby comes, they will have a much harder time adjusting. However, if they are prepared for it, and know what to expect, the adjustment will go far better. So, plan for baby. Make sure you talk about these plans with your other children. They should know what they will be doing while you are at the hospital, what their role will be when baby is at home, etc.
Give your child plenty of notice to prepare.
2. Get them involved. The more involved they are, the more excited they will be, and the easier it will be for them to get used to baby. So, help them get involved. If you are preparing a room for the baby, ask their advice on decorating. If you are shopping for baby supplies, ask them to pick out a few things. If you are debating baby names, ask their opinion. The more involved they are before, the easier it is when it happens. However, involvement should not stop there. Have them involved in the care of baby. If they are really young, have them help you by doing things like getting you wipes when the baby needs a diaper change. If they are a little older, have them help you by feeding the baby a bottle, or holding the baby while you get things done. The more involved in baby, the better.
3. Don’t leave them out. Kids have a harder time adjusting when they are not being included in the process. Make sure they visit you at the hospital. Send birth announcements that have their name as well. At showers, or parties for the baby be sure they receive a gift or two as well. The more they feel apart, and the less they feel neglected, the better, for you and them.
4. Help them get to know baby. It is easier to adjust to a new baby in the house if you can think of them as more than just a helpless, crying, lump. So, help your other children see the baby has a personality. Get them talking to, laughing with, tickling, and playing with the baby. Help them see the baby’s unique personality traits, and tell them about theirs when they were a child so that they will related with baby.
5. Minimize changes. The less that changes, the easier the adjustment will be. So, do not try and make drastic changes right after baby arrives. Never try and potty train with a new baby. Never move right after a new baby if you can help it, etc. The less change they have to deal with, the better. In addition, do your best to keep your home routine and schedule the same so that they feel normalcy.