The arrival of a new bundle of joy in the family is a momentous and happy occasion, but it can also bring forth unexpected challenges, such as sibling jealousy. It's not unusual for older siblings to feel a mix of emotions when a new baby brother or sister joins the family. Managing that jealousy is crucial to fostering a loving and close family dynamic. In this blog, we will explore effective strategies for parents to navigate and mitigate sibling jealousy, creating an environment where love flourishes
Whilst you are pregnant you can start to include your other child in conversations about the upcoming arrive and include them in picking items for the baby and preparing the space for the baby. Chat to your child about their feelings to see if they have any reservations about the changes afoot. Likely, they cannot comprehend but talk to them about the baby and make them feel included and excited.
Maintain Routine and Special Time
Children thrive on routine, and a new baby can disrupt the familiar schedule. Try to maintain your older child's routine as much as possible, ensuring they get enough attention and care. Create special one-on-one time with your older child, doing activities they enjoy. This reinforces their sense of importance and reduces feelings of displacement. You can also take turns to spend time with your older child as much as is practical.
Encouraging your older child to help fetch items, or bathe your newborn can really help with bonding. Using language such as ‘we’ will help them feel like they are contributing and helping to take care of your new baby. It can also help to make them feel very grown up!
Avoid comparing your children, even unintentionally. Each child is unique and has their own strengths and weaknesses. Emphasise their individuality by talking about liking different things, interested in different activities and celebrate each child in their own right.
Teaching your child about working together as a family and the benefits of being stronger together. It also fosters kindness to one another and helps create a sense of unity rather than rivalry.
Be Patient and Validate Feelings
Sibling jealousy is a natural emotion, and it's important to acknowledge your older child's feelings. Be patient and empathetic, listening to their concerns and frustrations. Validating their emotions helps them feel understood and less alone in their struggles.
Establish clear boundaries and rules for all children in the family. Consistency is key. When disputes arise, address them calmly and impartially. Avoid taking sides, and use conflicts as opportunities to teach problem-solving and conflict resolution skills. Do be careful when you have a very young child and a new baby - even best intentioned toddlers can cause unintentional harm to a new baby.
Model Positive Behavior
Children learn by example, so demonstrate positive behavior and communication in your own interactions. Show love, patience, and respect towards your partner and other family members. This sets a strong example for your children to follow.
Showing love, kindness and affection to your entire family demonstrates healthy and happy relationships which are very powerful.
Managing sibling jealousy is an ongoing process that requires patience, understanding, and dedication. By preparing your older child for the new addition, providing consistent attention, and fostering a sense of cooperation and love, you can help your children build strong, lasting sibling bonds.