Healthy Family Adjustment to A New Sibling
A new baby brother or sister can be a wonderful butstressful experience in the life of a young child. It is not uncommon for a child to feel anger, jealousy and resentment toward a newly arrived sibling.
Children often feel threatened because they are no longer the center of attention in the family and need family support in coping with the arrival of a new baby.
The following suggestions may help you and family members prepare your child for the newest family member and perhaps allow a child to understand the new role as a sibling:
* Prior to the babyís arrival, give your child a time frame so he or she can understand when the baby will arrive, such as right after Christmas or just before school ends.
* Make important changes like room adjustments and toilet training well before the birth.
* Talk about the new baby before the birth. Prepare the child for the baby by giving details about pregnancy and delivery that are appropriate to the childís age and level of understanding.
* Involve your child. Make him or her feel like a part of the experience by asking the child to help you shop for baby items, set up the nursery and choose names.
For example, teach your child a lullaby to sing to the new baby.
* Explain to your child that you will need to deliver the baby at a hospital, and prepare the child for your absence. Perhaps you can have your child help you pack the suitcase that you will take with you. Encourage the child to include something that will remind you of him or her. Many hospitals offer orientation for soon-to-be brothers and sisters.
* Let the child visit you as quickly as possible after the baby is born. Emphasize your joy at seeing him or her rather than being preoccupied with the baby.
* After the baby comes home, schedule special times with your older child, like going to a movie or the park with you or other family members. The excitement of a new baby often makes the older child feel neglected.
* Allow your child to express negative emotions, and explain that it is alright to feel uncertain about the new changes the baby is bringing.
Preparation for the arrival of a new baby can make a smoother beginning for both the sibling and the new baby.
Harold H. LeCrone, Jr., Ph.D. Copyrigh ©2010