Understand There Might Be Jealousy
So you’re expecting a new addition to the family! That’s fabulous. Congratulations!
While initially your children may be excited, there may come a time when the novelty of a new baby wears off. After a couple of weeks, or even a few months, you might notice your older kids start to act out.
Meanwhile, parents like you are busy caring for your new arrivals. No doubt you want to make sure your other children still feel loved—but there’s only so much time in the day.
And coping with jealousy can be especially tough for toddlers, who do not yet have the language skills to express how they are really feeling.
What can you do to navigate this, and protect your children’s self-esteem?
Prioritize One-on-One Time
To show your children that they will always have a place in their parents’ hearts, schedule one-on-one time with them.
This might mean that you and your partner take turns tucking your toddler in at night, reading them a story and snuggling up before they go to sleep. You can share bedtime duty so that the baby also gets attention as well as the toddler. It’s very helpful when children learn how to fall asleep alone, and do not develop an overly exaggerated dependence upon one member to calm them at bedtime. If this is a skill they have not yet mastered it would be prudent to wait a while after the new addition has come, to teach this skill to your child so they won’t feel ‘abandoned’.
Another wonderful option to squeeze in some precious together time with your older sibling, is to play with them while your infants sleep – even five minutes can make all the difference! Any activity that is quiet and soothing will help and offer a fantastic way to connect. After this you can nap knowing everyone is happy!
When your baby is old enough for a sitter, you might even take your older children on a fun excursion, out of the house. You could enjoy a movie, visit the zoo, or find another place that can foster connection between the two of you.
In my book A Surprise for Eden and Ethan I touch on exactly this topic and without giving too much away, let’s say the parents in the story speak openly about the impending arrival of a new set of twins.
Eden and Ethan ask plenty of questions—and Mommy and Daddy answer those questions candidly. They let the older children know what not to worry about, and talk of how they, the elder siblings know how much you care for them, and remind them they can always come to you when they need to talk. Tell them you want them to feel involved with their new siblings, and to feel just as loved as they always have. This will go a long way to encouraging honest communication.
As many parents know, telling older kids about the arrival of a brand-new sibling is exciting.
It can also be challenging—especially for those who are expecting twins! But who knows? Just like with Eden and Ethan, your kids might find that with a new sibling in the household the love for all will just grow and grow.
Visit Eden and Ethan on Amazon
Want to learn more about our dynamic duo as they eagerly await the birth of their twin siblings? A Surprise for Eden and Ethan: A Tale of Children’s Acceptance and Excitement As They Receive Not One but Two Siblings! is available on Amazon. Click here to learn more about Ethan and Eden’s world.