Monday, May 18, 2015

Sibbling proof your child

My cousin from the US is having a lot of sleepless nights nowadays. She is expecting her second baby in a couple of months but her first one is four and he’s suddenly become very nervous and apprehensive about his future sibling. “Sometimes,Suni,” she complains, “he sits under the table for hours, playing with his own toys and not talking to anyone of us. I’m beginning to get worried.”

Your first-born child has enjoyed your undivided attention for his entire life, so he is unlikely to automatically warm up to the arrival of a new baby in the house. But if you carefully prepare for it beforehand, it definitely won’t be as tough as you think. Remember, from the day you find out that you are pregnant to the day the baby actually arrives - you have plenty of time, so use it to ease your toddler through the transition. Here are some ideas...

Inform your toddler about the new arrival
But not too soon! Your little one is too little to retain too many things in his tiny head for long. So, don’t tell him about what will happen after 6 months. Spill the beans when you are seven months pregnant or so. However, before that if your toddler gets curious about your bloating body, take the opportunity to explain that there is a new baby growing inside -- let him gently caress your tummy and say hi to the baby if he so wishes. Post this, do mention the baby on and off but don’t over do it.

Set expectations and bust myths
Your toddler might think that the baby will start playing with him the minute he or she is born and when this doesn’t happen, he is bound to feel frustrated. Hence, set the expectations right - about what will happen when the baby arrives. Explain that new babies require a lot of care, sleep a lot, have to be held quite often, and cry for no visible reasons.

Remind him about his baby days
To help your toddler understand what a new born is all about, glance through his baby album with him, see his baby videos and talk about when he was tiny. Explain that he was cared for a lot and as a result he has grown bigger and smarter; the new baby will be just like him. This will make him feel important and help him understand your excitement about the new baby.

Reward positive behaviour, ignore negativity
Appreciating welcoming behaviour will encourage your toddler to be nice to the baby. To get him excited about the baby, make him a part of all the processes and spend quality time with him before the baby is born. For example, make a ‘welcome home little baby’ card with him and make him gift the card to the baby when you bring the baby home. But when it comes to your toddlers’ unwelcoming behaviour, try and overlook it because you don’t want him to think that your attention can be attracted only by hitting the baby.

Do not let your toddlers’ routine get upset
Try to keep your toddlers’ daily routine stable, before, during, and after the birth. A sense of normalcy will not make him feel that the new baby has changed everything for him. Developing a healthy bond between the siblings from the very beginning is your responsibility. Live your responsibility ably by dividing your love and time effectively between your baby and your toddler. After all, both are pieces of your own heart! 
- Sunila Karir

(A lot of these tips, were gathered over the year over conversations with friends and family and some with the help of the internet.)
Pic: Courtesy the www


  1. Children tend to get nervous and worried over a new born at home. Same thing happened with my nephew :) Most of the tips I think my sister already followed. Nice post :)