sibling rivalry - help and advice
Is a new baby going to make the family a quartet? Here are some pointers to make this transition as smooth as possible ....more
Our older child cried his eyes out when we brought the new baby home, even though we had thought we had prepared him well. This happened a little more than thirty years ago when there existed no books to educate parents on delicate sibling rivalry issues ....more
You just found out the exciting news. The positive sign on the pregnancy test is proof of the new addition to your family. Since this isn't your first pregnancy, you can focus more on your expanding family ....more
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Introducing new baby to the older child - by Michael Russell
Is a new baby going to make the family a quartet? Here are some pointers to make this transition as smooth as possible.
Be sure to introduce your child to the new baby before birth. Share ultrasound pictures. Get her to know the baby by patting the baby, talking to the baby and feeling the baby kick. Make a game of talking about and planning for the new sibling. When a young child doesn't see the baby, it will not threaten her territory, even though a toddler may sense that Mommy and Daddy are preoccupied with the new bulge.
Revisit your child as a baby. Share her baby album with her. Show her what she looked like when she was born, when she was nursing, coming home from the hospital, having her diapers changed, etc. If she is familiar with newborn tasks, she will be more prepared for things to come.
Prepare her verbally for baby's entrance. "Mama is going to hold the new baby all the time. New babies sit in Mama's arms all day. Babies sleep and nurse all day long. New born, tiny babies need their mommies and daddies to help them".
Make sure the child participates in the new baby festivities. She can help to plan a baby birthday party. She will enjoy helping to pick out the cake and decorations. She can help pick out special presents for the new sibling.
Make sure that your child gets a present too. It is common for family and friends to bring along a gift for the older child when visiting the new baby. In the absence of this, keep some presents hidden for your youngster when presents are lavished on the new baby. It is also a good idea to let her unwrap the baby gifts and test the new toys, such as rattles.
It has been shown that sharing Mama with the new baby is what bothers children most. Sharing is almost always a foreign concept for children under three and her Mama is her most prized "possession". Most children will not be willing to accept the concept of sharing time with the new baby. What you can do is share with your child the time spent caring for your newborn. Baby slings give you two free hands to play and physically interact with your child. Read a book while you feed baby.
Make the older child feel important. All children want to help. Give her a family job. Tell her you need her help. Be sure to praise her when she helps. She may even learn some mothering skills along the way.
Encourage your child to talk about her feelings. These may be negative or positive. Drawing pictures may help her open up. Often children feel safer drawing what they feel. Always say that her feelings are normal. Most likely your child will open up more. All human beings want to be accepted and understood.
Revisit special times often, especially with Dad. These can be outings to the playground, to the ice cream parlor, or even to the corner market. These one-on-one times are only for the older child. It helps that she gains attention from Dad when she has lost attention from Mom.
Following these general guidelines should help to make the transition to a larger family easier and more enjoyable, especially in the first few months. A new baby in the family is a joy and as parents, we must remember that the trying times will all be distant memories.
Welcoming your second baby - by Joy Caqil
Our older child cried his eyes out when we brought the new baby home, even though we had thought we had prepared him well. This happened a little more than thirty years ago when there existed no books to educate parents on delicate sibling rivalry issues. Over the years, we managed to ease up the tension between our two boys, but neither my husband nor I will ever forget the horror of that night.
As parents of long ago, we may have missed the boat, but I am glad parents of today have reference materials such as “Welcoming Your Second Baby” within easy reach. The book is mostly about preparing the first child for the sibling’s arrival. When and how to tell the first child, sharing reproductive information that would fit the age of the child, stressing the positive side of having a baby in the house, letting the child fantasize about the new arrival but not letting him think that he would be a toy or a playmate, showing other new babies to the child, reading baby books with the child, improving the child's self-esteem by letting him see his own baby pictures, and making the major changes first, like changing the older child’s room and bed are dealt with detail in the beginning pages.
The author, Vicki Lansky, advises the prospective parents to work together and not let only one parent carry the burden, to train the family pets to play gently with dolls, taking care of the mother's health and the couple's needs, and letting the older child share in the experience as much as it is appropriate and doable.
Lansky also warns that preparing a one-year old is practically impossible; nevertheless, the parents should include him in the preparations. After the baby arrives, parents should also let the older sibling act babyish, if need be. On the other hand, preparing the older children or a teenager is another matter, and there are several caveats, one of which is: “Don’t make your older child dread the baby’s birth by talking a great deal about how much help he or she is going to be.”
Preparing the younger child for the mother’s hospital stay, calling him often from the hospital, letting someone carry the baby home rather than the parents, accepting the older child’s negative or positive reaction to the baby, and making every effort so the older child does not feel left out are significant things parents can do.
The book also addresses a few other concerns such as the siblings sharing a room, baby’s feeding time, playing with the baby, how to handle jealousy issues if and when they happen, how to help an older child with special circumstances like an adoption, a premature or ill infant, or miscarriage.
“Welcoming Your Second Baby” is in paperback with an index and a list for support groups at the end. It consists of 120 pages and its ISBN is 9780916773120.
The author, Vicki Lansky, was born in 1942 in Louisville, KY, and grew up in Westchester, NY. After receiving a degree from Connecticut College, she worked in New York City until 1971 when she and her husband moved to Minneapolis. She has been a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, a contributing editor to Family Circle magazine and has written a monthly column for Sesame Street Parents magazine for 9 years. She is one of the National Parenting Center's featured parenting author contributors online.
Some of her books are: Toilet Training: A Practical Guide to Daytime and Nighttime Training , Birthday Parties Best Party Tips & Ideas For Ages 1-8 , Dear Babysitter Handbook, Welcoming Your Second Baby, Getting Your Child to Sleep, Trouble-free Travel with Children, Baby Proofing Basics and Games Babies Play From Birth to Twelve Months, and Vicki Lansky's Divorce Book for Parents: Helping Children Cope with Divorce and Its Aftermath.
Her children/parent read-together books are Koko Bear's New Potty, A New Baby at Koko Bear's House, Koko Bear and the New Babysitter, and Koko Bear's Big Earache.
This is a book to enjoy and learn from. The birth of a second baby might be a most stressful experience for everyone concerned. The recommendations in this book, however, can turn it into a happy and memorable event.
Talking to your children about a new baby - by Michael Russell
You just found out the exciting news. The positive sign on the pregnancy test is proof of the new addition to your family. Since this isn't your first pregnancy, you can focus more on your expanding family.
How will your family adjust to the news? How will you tell them? Will they be happy or upset? These may be just some of the questions on your mind. With the proper preparation, your family will start to have fun with the idea of a new baby.
When is a good time to tell your children? This depends on their ages. Children, age ten or older, are usually excited about bringing a new baby into the family. They understand the pregnancy will take nine months for the baby to develop and grow.
Children between the ages of five and nine will have a harder time comprehending that the pregnancy will take nine months. They will recognize that your body is changing and usually have many questions.
Children under the age of five usually aren't capable of understanding that it takes nine months for the baby to arrive. You may want to wait until the second trimester to tell your children, especially very young children. This makes the waiting time a little shorter for them and gives you time to prepare for any questions they may come up with.
Regardless of the ages of your children, always be sensitive to their questions. Spend time together as a family to talk about their new sibling. Explain how you will be going through changes (both physically and emotionally) so they are not scared or worried if you experience morning sickness or other pregnancy symptoms.
Talking about feelings is very important. Ask your children how they feel about having a new sibling. Discuss with them that it's all right if they feel scared or jealous. Try to find out why they feel this way and ease their concerns. Maybe they're scared the baby will get all their toys. When you explain that the baby will have his or her own toys, your child's fear should subside. It may also help to take your child shopping to help pick out new toys for the baby.
Go through pictures with your children when they were newborns. Explain the time and attention a baby requires. If your children show interest in helping you when the baby arrives, let them. It depends on their age to what they're capable of doing but even a preschooler can get things for you such as diapers or help find a lost pacifier.
Getting the children involved with the pregnancy will help them to accept the arrival of the baby. Let them help pick out clothes, bedding and toys for the baby. Ask their opinions about themes, designs and colors for the nursery.
As your due date arrives, prepare the children for your hospital stay. Explain to them why you need to go to the hospital for the delivery. Tell them that you will be home in a couple of days and until then they can visit. When you pack your hospital overnight bag, pack their bags as well if they are staying at a relatives or a close friend's house. Allow each child to select a small inexpensive gift for the baby such as socks or bibs. Give them paper to wrap the gift themselves to bring to the baby when they visit you in the hospital. You may also want to buy inexpensive gifts for each of the children from the new baby.
With a little preparation, your children will accept the new addition to your family with open arms.