I have really thought about making this post for awhile now and it has taken some time to get the list of things just right for all of you!
If you really think about it, you have been telling your oldest that they will have this wonderful little brother/sister to play with, and how much fun and amazing this will be. Now that the baby is here, your oldest is most likely thinking, “How am I supposed to play and have fun with them?”
He then tries to “play” with the baby the only way he knows how. He tries to wrestle and he gets yelled at because he can hurt the baby, he plays peak a boo and gets yelled at for putting the blanket on the babies head, he gives the baby a big hug and then you tell him not to because the baby is too small for the big hugs and he has to be a lot more careful.
Now your oldest is confused at the fact you said he was going to have so much fun with his new sibling and it will be the best thing ever, but keeps getting yelled at for it.
Here is my list of things I thought could help out other families that are about to or are thinking about adding another baby to the family.
- Watch what you say
Don’t blame everything that you can’t do on the baby being here. “Be quiet, don’t wake up the baby.” We can’t go play outside because the baby needs to take a nap.” Saying things like this will most likely make your oldest not want the baby around anymore. Maybe try alternative words like, “We can go after the baby takes a nap.” “I can help you in just a few minutes.”
2. Give extra love
Tell them you love them a little extra than usual, give more hugs, find time to read a book or even play a game together.
3. Let your oldest be your helper
Teach your oldest how to be helpful with the baby. Let the older sibling use the camera to take pictures, or help put the babies socks on, he can even help with spoon feeding the baby when it comes that time.
4. Give praise
Whenever you see the oldest sibling helping or doing nice touches with the baby, make a positive comment. Try to make a big fuss about it and how important big brother/sister is and tell them just how proud you are of them.
5. Teach by showing them
Children will learn and do what they see. Your oldest will be always watching you and how you are handling the baby. Your child will learn everything they need to know just from you and watching what you do.
6. Quick reaction times
Anytime you see your oldest being too rough with the baby, act quick. Firmly let them know that hitting or whatever they were doing is not a nice thing to do.
7. Teach soft touches
Teach the older sibling how to give the baby soft touches. Try showing him how to give the baby a gentle back rub and let him know that he is helping to calm down the baby.
8. Hover over them
Whenever you have both of them together, hover close by. If you see your oldest about to get rough with the baby, you can quickly pick the baby up and distract the older sibling by singing, dancing, doing a craft, activity, etc. By doing this you are protecting the baby and also staying away from constantly saying no.
I saved this one for last because it is in my opinion the most important thing you can do. Your main goal is to make sure the baby doesn’t get hurt, but your second is to teach your oldest how to be gentle and interact with the baby in nice ways. You can sit down and talk to him, show him by demonstrating what to do, and encourage great behavior and nice touches.
These are just a few things I have thought about and I am sure there are way more out there. I would love to hear some of your ideas, especially since I have a five year old and ten month old so we are constantly learning.