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.
Watch our video on helping your child prepare for a new sibling
It may help to chat to other parents on our forums to find out how they are dealing with this issue within their family life. You can also talk to us via our live chat service, email us at email@example.com or call us on our helpline on 0808 800 2222 to speak to trained family support worker.