Every child will react differently to the addition of a new family baby, but there are some common things you may end up dealing with. Your child's reaction will depend on everything from their age to their personality, and how you respond can have a big impact on how smoothly your family grows. Consider the following tips for helping new siblings adjust and bond.
Planning ahead can help you and your child both adjust to the new baby easier. One way to help your child is by having open conversations with your child before the baby arrives. You can explain to your child that the new baby doesn't mean you will love them any less, but that it does mean some things may change around the house.
In anticipation of these changes, you may want to consider implementing some of them ahead of time. For example, if you have a long bedtime routine, it is inevitable that it will need to be shortened once the baby arrives, so start trimming it down a bit now. You can also start babyproofing early, explaining to your child why the changes need to be made. This is also a great way to help your child feel involved by helping with the changes.
It is common for young children to act out a bit when their regular schedules and expectations are disrupted, and a new baby is no exception. Your child may suddenly start throwing temper tantrums, crying more often, and pushing boundaries, often in a bid to gain more of your attention. Remember when this happens that these actions aren't planned; children are impulsive, and this is how they are expressing their feelings.
This can be alleviated in some cases by helping your child express how they are feeling. Help them learn words to express themselves, by saying things like, "You seem to be sad right now," then offering a solution.
Helping your children establish a sibling bond can help improve their behavior if it took a nosedive when you brought your new baby home. One way to do this is to encourage your child to help with the baby duties, to whatever extent is possible at their age. This may mean helping fetch diaper, assisting with bathtime, and helping with feedings, but any way they can help can help grow a connection between the two.
Another thing you can do -- which can be started before the baby comes home -- is to read books about siblings together. This can help the child see how siblings can interact, and give them something to look forward to once the baby is a little older. Reading these books ahead of time can paint the baby's arrival in a positive light and help get your child excited about the family's new addition.