When a child suddenly becomes a big brother or sister, it is a big change for them. Even if they were prepared by their parents for the appearance of a brother or sister, nothing is able to really prepare them for what will happen at home. Therefore - small children are often jealous of their siblings. Bien Magazine advises how to help them go through this difficult stage.
From withdrawal to aggression
When a newborn appears at home, an older child is usually fascinated by it. But as time goes on, the novelty wears off, especially since the little one does not want to be a playmate just yet. Also all of the circumstances, to which the child was accustomed, are changing at home and the older child is no longer the focus of the whole family. The child may start to behave strangely - either retreat completely or change from an angel to an aggressive little monster. They can start to get upset and fight for no reason. They can also become sad, weeping, stubborn or subdued. By only having a small vocabulary of words, they cannot express their emotions. They often feel pushed out, lonely and unwanted. They feel they are losing their parents interest so they start fighting for it.
How do you help an older child?
The most basic and primary issue - you have to accept the child's feelings and let them feel jealous. You have to put yourself in their shoes. It's not easy to stop being the important person and one and only.
You have to give your toddler as much attention as possible, use the time when the baby is asleep. One parent should be with the older child when the second one deals with the newborn. You have to show them that they are still very important.
You have to tell them a lot of nice words, remember the little gifts and never let them feel that the baby in the pushchair is more important.
Also, under no circumstances can you compare their behaviour with the reactions of a little brother or sister. You cannot explain to them that the second child is kinder, calmer, etc. This will increase their dislike of the baby.
It is worth telling the older child a lot about what it was like when they were little, how they behaved, what they liked and what made them cry. Show them pictures or videos from their infancy. All of this will help to familiarise them with the new situation.
Make sure the older child feels comfortable – they can bring diapers, cream or change of clothes for the baby. During the baby’s bath time, let them soap the baby's back. Many minor tasks will give them a feeling of importance. Of course, you cannot entrust them to take care of the baby. This would surely overwhelm them.
Author: Bien Magazine