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How to Help an Older Sibling Adjust to New Baby

August 4, 2022

A new baby brings a lot of change for everyone in the family - especially older siblings. Some kids take to the new arrival right away, while others may need a little extra help adjusting. Wondering what to do to make the transition as easy as possible? Here are some tips for how to help an older child adjust to a baby and get comfortable with the new situation.

Read a fun book about the joy of having a sibling.

Reading to your child is already a great time to bond, so why not incorporate a new read to help your child adjust to a baby? Choosing a book about a new sibling is a great way to introduce the topic in a low-stress environment. It's also a time that you can talk to your child and let her express any anxieties, questions or concerns that she may have. The "New Baby" series by Rachel Fuller is a great option, because it takes you from waiting for the baby to arrive to playing with the new baby in four colorful board books.

Pick out some older sibling/younger sibling clothing.

Whether it's big sister/little sister (or big brother/little brother, or any other combination of the two) coordinating tops or maybe some cute matching pajamas, take your child to select something for themselves and the baby that coordinate with each other. That way your older child can be involved in the activity, and choose something he or she likes.

Plan one-on-one time with your older child.

Even if it's just to run an errand or go grocery shopping, making the effort to spend one-on-one time with your older child is a great way to show her that she still matters. Kids can feel upended when their schedules change, so validating their emotions is really important.

Give her special jobs to help with the baby.

Don't be afraid to let your firstborn help out... you may be surprised at what they can do. Whether it's helping with the bath by washing your baby's feet or helping grab things like diapers and wipes, giving your older child the chance to be included may make the transition easier on them. Depending on their age, you can teach them fun ways they can care for the baby. Or, if they’re too young, they can help by making silly faces, holding the baby, or telling the baby a story.

Have baby give her older sibling a gift.

When your older child comes to visit your baby in the hospital for the first time, have a little wrapped gift waiting at the hospital. Explain that the gift is from their new little baby sister or brother because they're excited to have them as a sibling. This will probably work better if your children are closer in age, but it can be a sweet gesture that could brighten your firstborn's day.

What to Do When a Child Is Jealous of a New Baby

When an older child is jealous of their new baby sibling, it's important to reassure them that they are still loved and important in the family. You can do this by including them in caregiving tasks, like changing diapers or giving the baby a bath. Spending time with them one-on-one is also important, so they know they haven't been forgotten. Try not to compare the two children, as this will only make the older child feel worse.

It's normal for older siblings to feel a range of emotions when a new baby arrives. Some kids take to the new situation right away, while others may need a little extra help adjusting. In order to help your child adjust, it is important that you encourage them to express their feelings and give them attention and affection. With patience and love, your child will eventually come around and adjust to their new sibling.

Author Bio

Lauren Soderberg

Wife of one tall drink of water. Mama of two spunky kids. Lover of awkwardly long hashtags and unicorn emojis. And babies, obviously.