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Sibling Rivalry - Preparing your child for the arrival of a new sibling

Sibling Rivalry - Preparing your child for the arrival of a new sibling

I was pregnant and thrilled. Our first born, less so. After all, from his perspective, the little interloper was already taking up all my time and energy. We talked to our first born a lot about the imminent arrival of the baby. Realizing that the concept of time means little to a three year old, we’d decided to tell him that the new baby would arrive in the summer, near Christmas time. He liked this idea. It was exciting – like the countdown to Christmas.

We involved him in the preparations for the new arrival as much as we could. We dug out his old baby photos and talked about what he was like when he was a newborn baby. We also had fun discussing potential baby names together and laughing about all the names we had nearly called him. I also made sure that we scheduled playdates with my good friend who had recently had a new baby as well so that slowly the whole concept of the new baby became real to him.

As my due date grew closer, I talked to him about going to the hospital and we packed my bag together. Once the baby arrived, it was really important for me that he came in to meet the new baby so that the four of us had a chance to bond together before any other visitors came in.
Once we brought the baby home, however, reality kicked in. My first born wanted to help out with the new baby, but as you can imagine this was often difficult. Some things like breastfeeding proved especially tricky. He’d get really clingy and would often fly into tantrums when I was trying to breastfeed the new baby. Up until the arrival of the new baby, he’d been the centre of our universe. Now he had a rival to contend with. Of course he was throwing a hissy fit!

Also on these occasions I knew that it was just his frustrated way of wanting to spend more one-on-one time with me, so we’d try and make sure that happened. Knowing that there was a special time exclusively for him helped reduce his feelings of resentment and anger about the new baby. So when the baby was sleeping, I tried talking to him about he was feeling. Often this was difficult. He didn’t know how to articulate what he was feeling. He was just feeling threatened by the new arrival and very, very angry.

In the end I think it was the persistence and the regularity that made him feel better. Every day I would include him in the baby’s routine and every day I would ask him if he would like to help me. So I encouraged him to help me with pushing the pram, dressing and bathing the baby. I also explained that babies get a lot of attention, but it’s much more fun to be a big kid. I told him all the pluses of being an older child, like babies face the back of the car seat, they can’t eat ice cream, and they don’t get to play on the playground. Slowly he began to realise that he hadn’t been replaced and in fact he probably had a better deal being the older sibling!
How did you prepare your child for the arrival of their new brother or sister? I’d love to hear any tactics that worked for you!

8 Member comments Post a reply

Avatar Former Member



Mel talks about how to prepare your child for the arrival of a new baby

Read the full blog post: Sibling Rivalry - Preparing your child for the arrival of a new sibling

Posted 14 March 2011 - 01:31 PM

Avatar lil_toot1

having a present at the hospital from the baby to older child seemed to help with me.

Posted 16 March 2011 - 04:45 PM

Avatar Former Member

I did the same by involving my daughter with the setting up of the babys room etc.
Every night before bed I told her that mummy daddy and baby loved her and then asked her do you love mummy and she would say yes do you love daddy...yes do you love baby... yes.

When she played with her dolls I use to role play by cuddling it putting it to sleep etc. It was funny during my pregnancy she would started sleeping with her baby at night but when I had the baby she didn't want it.

SInce bubs has been born ive seen no signs of jealousy she's always helping with nappy changes baths etc so I like to think that the few things I mentioned above helped even if they didn't.

Posted 21 March 2011 - 12:15 PM

Avatar JBEE54

My four and a half year old is so excited about being a big brother- he constantly gives my belly big hugs and kisses and tells bubs that he love it. so far he's come to all the doctors appointments, and I've made sure he'll come to the 20 week ultrasound, where we'll find out what sex it will be. That's going to be the first hurdle, because he's got his heart set on a baby boy, and won't take ' what if it's a sister' as an possibility! I'm not sure how he'll be when the reality of being a big brother will hit him though, but we'll keep on involving him as much as possible, and I plan to make sure we spend some one on one time together after bubs is born.

Posted 22 March 2011 - 10:06 AM

Avatar JBEE54

My four and a half year old is so excited about being a big brother- he constantly gives my belly big hugs and kisses and tells bubs that he love it. so far he's come to all the doctors appointments, and I've made sure he'll come to the 20 week ultrasound, where we'll find out what sex it will be. That's going to be the first hurdle, because he's got his heart set on a baby boy, and won't take ' what if it's a sister' as an possibility! I'm not sure how he'll be when the reality of being a big brother will hit him though, but we'll keep on involving him as much as possible, and I plan to make sure we spend some one on one time together after bubs is born.

Posted 22 March 2011 - 10:07 AM

Avatar Gigglepot

My two year old is so excited about becoming a big brother! We told him about the new baby at about 12 weeks; I am now 29 weeks. We show him photos from when he was a baby, I let him help set up the nursery and choose new toys for the baby. I've shown him all of his old baby clothes and explained that he was a baby not long ago and that the new baby would be wearing his old clothes as he was a big boy now. He enjoys kissing and cuddling my belly as well as singing to his new little brother. And he knows and can say the new babys name. He likes that he is going to be the "Big brother" and will need to help Mummy out by being a big boy.

Posted 29 March 2011 - 03:47 AM

Avatar ally_cat

i think 1 of my friends needs to read this when she was preg with her 2nd child, her and her partner kept sayin to their 4 yr old tht wen the baby comes shes goin to have no attension so get used to it now n wen the little girl drank her mums juice the dad said thts for mum n the baby wen the baby comes u cant drink its juice how dare u!.
i felt so sorry for her so me and some other friends wud play games with her and make her feel included
now tht the baby is born she absolutely hates him shes stomped on him and thrown things at him and its all because of how they treated her before the baby was born.
im preg with my 1st child and i know when i have another i will def make my 1st feel included and loved the whole way through.

Posted 26 April 2011 - 06:35 PM

Avatar Miss Belle

The gap between my 2 will only be 16 months so not sure how to prepare my little DD for this given she doesn't really understand what's happening.
I know she understands something as she looks at my belly, but how much???

Posted 13 May 2011 - 06:09 AM

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