Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Growing Families

Having a new baby is an exciting time for the entire family.  Children awaiting the birth of their new baby brother or sister will watch in wonder as your belly grows, find happiness "talking" to their new sibling through your belly, giving your belly kisses, and feeling baby move.  Seeing and holding the new baby for the first time is also exciting for all involved - especially for the older children who finally get to meet their new sibling.
After a few weeks, though, you may quickly notice the happy feelings in your older children fade and replaced with resentment.  The new baby cries, wakes up in the middle of the night, and demands your attention.  Mom and dad are now being shared, and that can feel unfair to other children in the home.  You may find older siblings upset, acting out, and clingy.  How can you help?


1.  Listen.  Listening to your child is one of the best ways to reconnect and ease the stress associated with this new situation.  Try not to problem solve.  Just be open to all that they want to communicate.  Even when they are mad, validate their anger - say, "I can tell you are angry!" This will make them feel open to talking about their feelings.  Listening shows empathy and understanding, and this will make your child feel loved and safe.

2.  Special Time.  Yes, you are busy with a new baby in the house!  Special time doesn't mean planning a trip to Chuck E. Cheese or any other extravaganza.  Simply spend 10-15 minutes a day giving undivided attention to each of the older children in your life.  You can read books, cuddle on the couch and talk, or get on the floor and play.  Let them be the guide!  

3. Hug.  Everyone loves a hug! Anytime you hug, squeeze, pat, or hold hands with your child, you are displaying your love!

4.  Assign Tasks.  If you child is old enough, give them the role of helper with the new baby.  They can pack the diaper bag, grab a burp cloth when you need it, pick out an outfit for baby to wear, or simply sit with baby.  Thank your child for his/her help - no matter how small the task was or even if they goofed!  

5. Read Books.  There are many great options for parents to read children before and after the new baby arrives. Visit here for a great list provided by CS Mott Children's Hospital. You will also find other great tips for welcoming a new baby into your home!  


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