Managing Sibling Jealousy
Having a new baby is indeed a thing of joy. However, you may realize that your toddler isn’t exactly excited about having a new brother or sister. Most toddlers get jealous of the divided attention of their mothers once their younger ones arrive. Indeed, some children find it difficult to adjust to the new addition to the family. This can be completely normal, but there are a few things you can do to avoid this sort of sibling jealousy;
- Let your toddler be involved in caring for the newborn
For example, give him two outfits to choose what he thinks is most suitable for his little brother or sister. You could also ask your toddler to do mini tasks like passing a diaper or cotton bud to you when you are dressing up the baby.
- Let them feel acknowledged
You need to be deliberate about acknowledging their points of view. For example, you could agree with your toddler that babies are needy and clingy or you could agree with him that you two need to hang out at the playground more often.
- Be intentional about putting your toddler first sometimes
It can be overwhelming dealing with a newborn, but to keep your toddler’s emotions in check, you need to make deliberate efforts to put him first sometimes. For example, you could tell the baby to wait a minute to be fed while you first get your toddler snacks. You could also place the baby in a swing and play a game with your toddler.
- Encourage your toddler to talk about their anger or jealousy
Another way to minimize the effects of sibling rivalry after a new baby arrives is by constantly encouraging your toddler to open up about their emotions and state of mind. Studies have found that most newborn babies have been victims of aggression from their older siblings. However, a positive approach to parenting that encourages toddlers to express themselves goes a long way to curb such aggressive practices.
- Let your toddler know just how much the newborn loves him
For example, point out to your toddler whenever his younger sibling is smiling or staring at him. Let him know the baby is doing all those from a place of love and admiration. The trick is to boost the confidence level of your toddler so that he will in turn respond better to the new addition to the family.
- Avoid comparing your toddler with the newborn
Resist the urge to ask your toddler why he can’t be as calm as the newborn. Such questions always brew resentment and more jealousy. Even if you are stressed and too tired, avoid making such statements.
- Maintain your toddler’s routines
Maintaining those routines that your toddler enjoys is also a great way to help them stay confident that they remain special to you. For example, if you have a routine of reading bedtime stories to your toddler, do not stop doing so once you give birth. Other routines you shouldn’t stop include going to the playground and visiting friends.