How Your Kids Can Help After You Bring A New Baby Home

Image: Shutterstock

Every parent wants to give their child their undivided attention and love. However, this may get a little tricky if you have many children. They all want you to themselves and catering to their individual needs is important. Although you might eventually find your footing and settle into a routine with your kids, the first couple of months after the new baby comes home can be very tumultuous and unsettling for you and your older kids. After all, the family dynamic is changing and the role of the older sibling is magnified. This is why the 4th trimester is the time for adjusting when you have another child to consider. This is your chance to prepare your kids and communicate with them in order to make the transition easier for everybody. Instead of making them feel left out which will only foster jealousy and resentment towards their new baby sibling, get them involved and excited to help with your newborn! Here’s how you do it!

How To Help Older Kids Adjust To A New Baby

How To Help Older Kids Adjust To A New Baby

Image: Shutterstock

Having a new baby in the home is not just a huge adjustment for the parents, it can take a toll on the kids too. But at least you know you’re all in this together. Now make sure that your children know it too! When the new baby comes home, help your older ones adjust by teaching them how to interact with their new sibling. Chances are that they are as curious as they are skeptical.

Take care with preschoolers and elementary school age children. Your toddler needs to learn how to handle the baby gently. Stand next to them and redirect them if they are being too rough. It is important to remember that your kids probably don’t want to hurt the baby, they just don’t understand how fragile their little sibling is. So, let them observe how you take care of the baby so they know how to appropriately interact with them. When they are interacting with the baby in a proper manner, make sure to offer encouragement and tons of positive reinforcement.

One way to ensure that your older kids are ready for the new baby is to tell them about the baby as soon as possible. Don’t wait too long to tell your kids that there is another baby on the way. This will give them more time to adjust to the information and become comfortable with the idea of a new family member. So, having that conversation is a must. The key is to indicate that the inclusion of a new baby is a good thing for the family. If you’re excited, your kids will get on board a lot faster than you’d expect. However if they don’t react with enthusiasm right off the bat don’t be disheartened. This is a change and all change takes time to get used to.

How Older Kids Can Help When You Bring The Baby Home

How Older Kids Can Help When You Bring The Baby Home

Image: Shutterstock

Your hands are going to be full when your little one comes home so don’t hesitate to employ your little helpers. Kids want to feel involved so they will be able to help in any way they can. Consider incorporating them in tasks that they can do to look after their baby sibling. For example, preschoolers can help during bathtime or while changing diapers. They can help fetch things and keep the baby entertained. Elementary age kids could read the baby a bedtime story or sing them a song while you put the baby down for a nap.

If you have an older child, a preteen or teenager, involve them as much as they wish to be involved. Some may want to be front and center and help you with every daily task while others may prefer to pursue a social life and lend a helping hand occasionally. It’s best not to force your kids to take care of your baby. It’s not their responsibility, it’s yours. Remember that teenagers are developmentally more self involved as they are trying to grapple with the challenges of adolescents. They may begin to separate from the family in order to form their own identity. This is completely normal. Just make sure to communicate with them and express that you’re there for them too.

A boost in confidence can be very effective in helping your child feel important and involved with the baby. Point out when your baby is intently listening or watching them. Let your older child know how much your little one looks up to them or smiles at them when they are near. Make sure they understand that they are wanted, not just by you but by their new sibling.

It’s okay if your kids are upset from time to time. Having a new baby will bring about many changes. So be patient with them and yourself. Eventually things will be fine as you all settle into the new routine. Happy parenting!

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Kezia John

Kezia holds a deep interest in writing about women adapting to motherhood and childcare. She writes on several topics that help women navigate the joys and responsibilities of being a new mom and celebrate every stage of their baby's development. When she is not writing for MomJunction, she sings in a classical Western choir and reads endlessly.

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