1. Have your oldest child meet their new sibling at the hospital. This is a moment that should be shared with the immediate family without other visitors.
2. Buy them a present they can gift to their new sibling as a welcome gift.
3. Do not force any contact or affection. Give your big kid or kids the time they need. And don’t worry if they ask if you can return the newborn. This behavior is more usual than you’d think.
4.Ask the oldest kid or older kids if they want to “help” caring for the baby. Reaching for diapers to help you during a change and singing to the baby are good places to start.
5. Ask those visiting the newborn to give the oldest child attention first.
6. Some parents buy little favors and gifts for their oldest every time someone comes to visit bearing gifts for the newborn. You can also tell your big kid what it was like when they were born and show them pictures, videos, etc.
7. We know the first few months are the toughest. Try to be as available as possible for the oldest child. Take walks around the neighborhood with just the two of you, go for ice cream without bringing the new baby along, watch a movie together. This will make them feel reassured about being special to you.
8. Ask grandparents, your partner, or other family members to be more present and available for the oldest child for the first month.
9. Try not to change the child’s routine or loosen the rules of the house. Be patient if they start throwing more tantrums to get more attention or even exhibit “baby behavior.” If they regress, explain they are no longer a baby and don’t need to do that to be loved.
10. Do not force the oldest to share all their toys. Sharing is a new concept they have yet to learn. Allow them to have one or more “untouchable” toys that belong only to them, which will make them feel like they haven’t lost their entire world.
11. Be aware that the child is unaware of how they act: they don’t know what kind of force to use when interacting with the newborn. So, teach them that their little brother or sister is still too fragile like they once were and that they need gentle interaction. Always keep an eye on them!
12. If your oldest tries to hurt the newborn in any way, be firm. They need to understand the limits. Reinforce your love for them, but tell them you’re very sad about how they reacted.
Fights, jealousy, and discussions will always happen between siblings. You will see in time, love will flourish. The youngest will mirror themselves on the oldest. The oldest will most likely enjoy being the little one’s “influencer” and trendsetter.
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