It’s quite an adjustment for a child when their baby brother or sister is born. Another child who gets all the attention, a lot of presents and visits, whom everyone wants to hold and can sit with mommy all day. It’s not surprising that most children have difficulties dealing with that. Even if you tried to prepare the sibling well, they can still feel jealous. How do you handle this?
You might notice by the behavior of your oldest child that’s he doesn’t think it’s fun to have a baby brother or sister. He can get really angry, wet their pants all of the sudden even if he was dry already, wants to drink out of a bottle just like the baby or wake up at night screaming. How do you handle that?
Try not to react angrily when your child misbehaves. He only wants your attention, but it is asked for in a negative way. He was always the center of attention and never had to wait. But that changed. Do mom and dad still think he’s sweet? Of course! But he has to know there are boundaries. He does this because he is insecure.
Try to reinforce good behavior. For example, give him positive attention when he has to wait while you are breastfeeding. Talk about what you’re doing and that you’re almost ready to play with him again. Or buy a special book that you only read together while you’re feeding. This way, feeding time will be special for the older sibling as well.
Take care of the baby together
You can let your oldest child help you take care of the baby as much as possible. Ask him to grab a diaper or burp cloth for the baby and pay a compliment about how helpful he is being. He will be so proud! And if he doesn’t want to help, that’s fine too. Sometimes your child just wants to sit with you and cuddle instead of being the big sister or brother all the time.
Go out together once in a while. Ask a babysitter to stay at your house and go out with the oldest. A special day especially for the older child!
If the jealousy is only getting worse, visit a general practitioner to advice you on changing this behavior. And always watch your kids when they are together. Even if the oldest likes the youngest, he might not be aware of the vulnerability of the little baby.