How do I help my older child adjust to a new baby?

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by Dr. Sarah Klagsbrun of www.ParentingWithDrK.com, Child Psychiatrist, Medical Doctor, and mother of three

The birth of a new baby is always an adjustment for an older sibling. So how can you make the adjustment easier for the big sister/big brother?

TIP #1: Being called the “big brother” or “big sister” may NOT be so appealing to your older child. Now they are expected to take on all these new responsibilities (toddler bed, potty training, etc.) and the baby gets to be held all the time and has no responsibilities whatsoever! So don’t overdo the “you’re the BIG sibling” phrase.

TIP #2: Be aware of how everyone stops to admire a new baby but very few (if any!) stop to admire a big sibling.

TIP #3: After someone stops to admire the baby, tell your older child how you remember how “everyone used to stop and admire you when you were a baby. Everyone thought you had the cutest…”

TIP #4: Reminisce with some humorous moments from the past. “I remember dressing you in all pink and still people would say “what a cute boy you have! People are so silly.”

TIP #5: It’s especially helpful to talk about the older sibling when she was a baby while you are caring for the baby (changing the baby, feeding the baby) because those are the times your older sibling will feel left out!


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