When a second child is on its way, a lot of adaptations have to be made to our lives, not just in our finances and making drastic alterations to our home, but it's a major shakeup to our firstborn! Upon being told about the baby, they may be very excited, to begin with. But, this may give way to a lot of jealousy. We have got a lot to deal with as far as the pregnancy is concerned. If our child is of toddling age or a little older, they may not be very welcoming of the idea. So how can we make this transition easier, but also ensure that our firstborn doesn't feel left out?
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[ctt template=”4″ link=”gw2ZL” via=”yes” ]Upon being told that they are going to be a big brother or sister, they may feel jealous. How can we ensure that our firstborn doesn't feel left out?[/ctt]
Tips To Make Sure Your Firstborn Doesn’t Feel Left Out During Your Pregnancy
Picking Your Time To Tell Them
If your firstborn is under the age of 2, there may not be so much of an impact. At least, initially. When the second baby comes along, they will quickly realize something is different. And, that they no longer can command both parents’ attention. On the other hand, it can still be difficult on the firstborn during the pregnancy. Over the age of 2, especially as the terrible twos have truly made their appearance, you may see your firstborn regress. For example, they may want to be babied. You will see certain behaviors that they haven't done for a long while.
This could be demonstrated in sleeping issues, or the firstborn may want to jump in with the parents. Ultimately, the best time to tell them would be as soon as you're telling everyone else. They don't want to feel they were the last to know. This is the case especially when they're old or smart enough to know exactly what's going on. Feeling left out at this crucial stage could build into long-term resentment of the new baby, so don't waste any time. The goal is to have as complete a family unit as possible.
Building The Baby Into The Routine (before They Are Born)
You may not show for the first 2 months. As far as your firstborn is concerned, out of sight, out of mind. It's important to involve your firstborn in as many of the activities you plan on doing with your unborn child as soon as you can. In many ways, the best approach is to not think about it so much. After all, when your first child was in your tummy, you may have talked to them. Or, played music, and generally interacted with them. Do the same thing again, but this time, include your son or daughter. Yes, they may not show any interest, but as is the key to getting your child to do anything, persistence is key.
One day it may click. And, as is the age-old approach to encouraging your child after they've done something you want them to do, praise them. Encouraging them for the things they've done with the baby bump, such as talking to the bump, stroking the bump, and having lots of cuddles is great. And, when the baby’s born, still including your firstborn as part of the things you do with the new edition means that you can all bond together, which will make for a closer relationship with the two children.
Celebrate Your Firstborn!
The temptation might be to shield your firstborn from the baby, especially if they react unfavorably. It's a very difficult balance to gauge because, obviously, you want the best for everyone, but if your firstborn is having major tantrums over the issue, maybe it's worth refocusing back onto them for the foreseeable. This can feel like you're avoiding the issue somewhat, but you do have a lot of time until the baby is born, so you can gradually ease them in so they can come around to the idea.
But on the other hand, you want to have the same sense of celebration for your next child as you did your first. Baby showers are one of those things that can set off alarm bells in your firstborn. But, you should use this opportunity to have other people speak to your child about the baby. After all, our children can be little angels for everyone else, but a nightmare for us at home. This could be your opportunity to have them come around to the idea. If you've never had a baby shower before, Why Have A Baby Shower can provide some useful information, but this article is geared at the friends of the expecting parent. This party can actually give, not a celebration to the baby due, but the firstborn. They could have a part in the day, helping to open up presents, speaking to other family members and friends, and actually could finish the day being far more excited about the idea than they were before.
While you may find that you need a linguistics degree to make sure you're using the right words all the time, the one basic thing you should not do is compare your firstborn to the new baby. Comparing siblings, no matter how different they are, means that your firstborn will always feel in competition with them. Our children will always feel like they're being criticized if you speak like this. Regardless of how innocent the subject matter is, from hair color to when they first started crawling, it's a very long journey to solidify this family unit. And when the baby is born, they are going to take up a lot of your time because they will naturally need you more.
Of course, your firstborn will do their best to drive a wedge between the two of you. This is where getting them involved, instead of distracted, is going to be beneficial to everyone. Instead, think about everything as a family; if it's you, your partner, and your firstborn, as well as the baby, there are enough ways to share duties, playtime, quality time, and everything in between with the four of you.
Don't feel like it's got to be a fragmented unit; let your partner spend time with the baby while you spend time with your firstborn, and every other conceivable combination. Of course, the biggest test of trust would be to leave the baby with your firstborn, and take two steps away so you can observe how they are together. In this respect, it's quite a sink or swim moment, and if your firstborn doesn't react favorably, we, as parents, can overreact, and tell our firstborn off. But this is only going to make it far more difficult for everyone. Choose your words, but choose your tone of voice.
Making sure that your firstborn doesn't feel left out begins as soon as you tell them about the baby. It's par for the course that they will feel left out, or not as important, no matter how much love you lavish upon them. But do your best to keep at it, much like you had to persevere with other things. But, above all else, your words and actions can very easily make your firstborn feel out of the loop. Of course, time to adjust will help. There will be a time that they will finally accept that they have a little brother or sister. Then they will feel that protective nature over him or her. Unfortunately, it's that shock that they aren't the center of attention anymore that has to be addressed.
This is a contributed post.
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