When people have a new baby, there is a lot of focus placed on the event and the new child that has arrived. People stop by, send flowers, drop off gifts, and generally get excited to see and hold the new bundle of joy. Of course, when this is not the first child in the house, there may be one or more siblings that can feel a bit left out and jealous. The older siblings aren’t necessarily receiving any gifts, though there are times when visitors are sensitive to older siblings and try to make them feel special by bringing them a little trinket as well. With that in mind, here are a few thoughts on how to help your child overcome jealousy of a new baby.
Getting them involved
One way to help children overcome jealousy of a new baby is to get them involved in the process. Sometimes older siblings can also experience some excitement about having a new baby in the house. The older children may not have the maturity or responsibility to handle particular aspects of caring for a baby, but they can certainly help with small tasks. Or, the parents can at least do their best to make the sibling feel like they are involved, even if the parent is keeping a close eye on what is going on. The goal is not to make the sibling upset by putting them to work, but rather to make them feel like the whole family is involved in the process.
Another way to make a child feel a bit less jealous is to spend some focused time with them. Despite the busyness of raising a new baby, parents may need to take the older child on a few outings so that they receive some real attention as well. These outings do not have to be long or complex, but they can give the child something to look forward to on a regular basis. Some parents institute a weekly “date” with their child so there is always time that is scheduled.
Working through phases
Overall, some aspects of family life just have to be survived. Parents can work to minimize jealousy, but they still have to meet the needs of all children. A new baby needs constant attention, and parents cannot neglect that infant just to make an older child feel a little bit better about the process. Parents can do their best to spread the love, but being a family is about understanding that everybody needs to be a bit flexible sometimes. A sibling may be a bit jealous of a new baby, but this will also teach them something about living with other people and thinking about others.
How to help a child overcome the jealousy of a new baby is not an easy task. There are family situations that simply have to be endured, but there are times when people should be intentional about helping certain kids work through things and this is one of them.