Having a second child is a new and challenging experience not only for the parents but for the older sibling. For the older sibling, jealousy usually kicks in at some point because of the attention the newborn gets. Here are 5 ways for parents to deal with the jealousy of an older sibling.
1.) Get the older sibling involved with the baby in every possible way. Let the older child hold the baby, get the baby’s diapers, help to change the baby’s diapers and clothes, help to give the baby a bath, help to feed the baby, etc. The more you get the older sibling involved in the care of the baby, the more important the older sibling will feel. And you will be surprised at how much fun the older one will have in doing these things. What may be considered work for us will be fun and different for the older child.
2.) Set aside time for the older sibling. This may be difficult to do since babies don’t always have a really good schedule. If they want to eat or just start screaming, you have to drop what you might be doing with the older child in order to tend to the infant. This is where you will really notice the jealousy. You need to plan activities with the older child immediately when the baby goes to sleep, or when the baby is happy swinging in a swing.
3.) Go out somewhere fun for the older sibling, yet somewhere where the baby can go. Go to the park, go to the mall, go to a ballgame, go bowling…..go anywhere where the older sibling can have a lot of fun and can do things on his own, even if the baby does start screaming for attention.
4.) Take a short vacation with the older sibling. If you have parents or someone you trust to watch the baby for a day, take a one day trip somewhere where you normally wouldn’t be able to go with the baby…somewhere the older sibling will really enjoy.
5.) Give the older sibling a break. Let him go stay with Grandma and Grandpa overnight or at a friend’s house. Everyone needs a break every now and then…including kids!
The main points are to get the older sibling involved in the baby’s life immediately in any way that you can and make a strong effort to give the older sibling attention. There will always be some jealousy, but you’ll see that soon erode away if you make a conscious effort towards preventing it.