It can be difficult for older children to accept a new addition to the family. They can feel left out at the arrival of this demanding bundle that takes up their parent's attention round the clock. No matter how well you prepare your children for the arrival of a new baby, it can still be a shock. Although they react in different ways, they want to feel included, secure and paid attention to.
What can I do?
Deal openly with any jealous feelings - it will help your other children accept and understand this emotion. You may say, "You may want me to play with you but I am feeding the baby. You may feel jealous of the baby and angry with me." This can also be helpful for toddlers, because even if they don’t seem old enough to understand, they’ll pick up that you care and are concerned.
Get them involved
- Let them choose a present for the baby and let them unwrap presents from well-wishers.
- Get them involved in choosing names for the baby.
- If your children are at reading stage, consider getting books about siblings from the library.
- Give them opportunities to care for the baby, such as pushing the pram, choosing baby’s clothes, folding a blanket.
- Don’t force them to get involved.
Reassure your children that they are special and loved
- Give them lots of hugs and kisses. Often, they may feel there isn’t enough parental love for them any more.
- Spend time with your other children away from the baby - if possible get a babysitter.
- Take one day at a time.
If you would like further support and advice, call our helpline on 0808 800 2222 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can talk to us online via our live chat service, which is open, Monday to Friday between 10.30am and 9pm. You may also find it helps to find out how other parents have coped with this on our online forums.
Other organisations that may be useful
Do you have a new baby in the family? Why not access our free, online and innovative New Baby in the Family course? Based on our forty years’ experience working with parents and families, our course has four modules with helpful ideas and resources to help you feel a happier and confident parent.
Watch our video on helping your child prepare for a new sibling