Arrival of a new member in the family
The birth of the younger child certainly brings a major change in the family, number of new emotions, and also a change in the current way of life. The mother’s role is certainly the most challenging because the younger child at first completely depends on her. And it is very likely that she will not have the opportunity to devote herself like in the first pregnancy, because of her obligations in the family.
If the older child is still too young and requires quite a commitment, it is possible that the mother will be aware of the new pregnancy only in the evening when the older child falls asleep.
The birth of a brother or sister creates a bond for a lifetime among the children. That relationship, as it can be close and good, it can be problematic and difficult. Parent’s task is to contribute to the development of quality and close ties among kids.
Regardless of age an older child, it is important to explain him that he would soon have brother or a sister. Pregnancy is time when children can talk about how they came into the world, and that in the same way they will get little brother or sister. Older children can go with the mother on ultrasound and also follow the development of his brother or sister in their mother’s belly.
Talking to your child about the new member of the family
It is important to talk about everything that will really happen, without the “image of the ideal family”, because, we don’t really have idea how our little family will look like. The child should be prepared for all events that will happen. It is important to say that the mother will go in hospital and will be absent for several days, as well as who will take care of him during that period.
When a newborn baby comes home, your home will surely overwhelm storm of emotions. Will be prevailing excitement and joy, but there can also be conditions such as worry, fatigue, fear, anger, jealousy etc. It is important to know that all emotions during this period are normal and they are just way in adapting to the new situation.
An older child can be upset because of the baby’s crying, and therefore it is important to inform him that crying is the only way of baby’s communication and that his crying does not mean is sad or in pain. The kids fully trust their parents and this information will be sufficient.
The relationship between mother and older child definitely will change because the mother will be more time devoted to the newborn. It is important to explain him that this does not mean that we love him less. Just by informing them about the needs of the baby and the testimony of what it looked like when he or she was his age, can certainly help in understanding and adapting.
Support from the father and other family members is a great help, especially their understanding of the importance that mother and older child must have only their moments together. The mother can read bedtime stories, play with the child, talk with him. The rest of the time older child can spend with his father and other family members. This is also an opportunity to deepen their relationship.
But no matter how much we think we have successfully prepared the older child for the arrival of the baby, it is realistic to expect that the older child will show some behavioral changes. Some children react with regression. This means that raises some behaviors that were present in his earlier age (bedwetting, thumb sucking). Some children refuse any cooperation and some retreat into themselves.
It is important to know that this behavior is normal and usually temporary. Jealousy is also a natural state in these situations and it is not desirable to deny it or ridicule the child and give a message that is not right what he feels. Each child’s sense is worth of respect.
It is extremely important to create a space for healthy communication, where you can help child to express his feelings. It is important to notice and ask, for example: Do you mind baby’s crying because you can’t peacefully watch cartoons? Or: Are you angry because you would like to play loud, but you can’t because the baby is sleeping?
Allowing child to have the right to emotions, we are opening a room for some changes and compromises. We might point a solution that until then we did not see, for example: When dad comes home, we’ll go together to the park and play together.
It is therefore important to allow yourself and your family to have the right to feel, have the right to free space to express them in order to find a common contribution to the solution for each situation in the family. Because each family’s story is unique and each day is always different from the morrow.