Many families find that older children need to adjust to a new baby sibling, and may be jealous. This especially holds true for families who are making the transition from one child to two children, but it may happen if you already have several kids too. What can you do if your older child is jealous of the new baby?
- Introduce the new baby to your older child or children as soon as possible after the birth. Some kids do well actually seeing their baby sibling being born.
- Don't paint a rosy picture of what it is like to have a sibling during your pregnancy. Many parents tell their toddlers that they'll have a playmate, but of course newborns don't actually make very interesting playmates! If you want to prepare your child for a new sibling during pregnancy, tell them the "real deal" including constant nursing and waking in the night.
- Give your child a doll or stuffed animal of their own to look after while you care for the baby. Encourage pretend play. My daughter loved to wear her stuffed animal in a doll carrier or to push it around in her little doll stroller. I even made cloth diapers for her stuffed animal, and she loved mimicking mom, caring for her "baby".
- Include your child in caring for the baby. Ask him to pick out baby clothes for instance, or to get you a new diaper. This makes your child feel responsible and part of the family.
- And the most important thing of them all give your older kid lots of love and attention. You could point out that you are very proud of the things she can do that the baby can't, like using the potty or getting dressed herself. Try wearing your new baby in a carrier so you can still do lots of active things with your older child while the baby is sleeping or breastfeeding.