SO YOU HAVE BROKEN THE NEWS THAT THERE IS TO BE A NEW BABY IN THE HOUSE EVERYONE IS EXCITED. THEN A MONTH OR TWO LATER WHEN BABY BUMP CAN BE SEEN YOUR CURRENT CHILD BECOMES A LITTLE CONCERNED.
They may voice their concerns or they may start to misbehave or act younger then they really are. This is quite normal and just their way of displaying anxieties.Make the most of this time to reassure them that all is going to be ok, practice snuggling on the sofa next to each other rather then sitting on your lap. There is going to come a point when bump may be too big for them to climb on board. You don’t want your child to associate a bump with not being as close to mummy. This is also a good thing to get used to as after the birth you may not be well enough to have an older child sat on you. Again you want to reduce the risk of them feeling rejected. “You are so big now, I would love you to come and sit real close next to me”. Maybe get some new books to read when snuggled in this new position.
Once baby has been born make sure you know when the first time your now eldest child will be coming into the hospital to visit their new baby. When they come in make sure you are not holding the baby, you need to give all your attention to the new big sister or brother. Some people like to give a gift from the baby to thank them for being the big sibling – this can be great to reinforce the positives of a new baby.
Hopefully introductions have gone well and your eldest child will soon see that not much has changed in their world apart from a baby that sits in the chair or is asleep in a cot. All can be calm until the baby starts crawling and walking.
Suddenly the baby that just sat there is now having a direct impact upon their life. Toys that were once left untouched are now messed with. Pens that could be left out now have to be moved. Bedroom space that was personal is now invaded. Your eldest child is now starting to notice the full impact of a younger sibling.
This is when you as a parent may notice a change in behaviour, quick to anger, quick to cry, reverting to baby talk, day or night time wetting or being a bit more withdrawn then usual.
Having a small person, in their house and their space feels a much bigger deal then a baby. Think for a moment of the emotions you would feel if this scenario happened to you.
Imagine if your partner came home and said “I love you so much that I’ve decided to get another partner, this will be great for you as you can be the first partner and show them how great things are, it’s because I love you so much, don’t think I won’t love you any less. You will also have to share some of your things with them as they may touch your things or take them without asking. They may want to walk into your bedroom for a look around now and again. Try not to get cross if they move your toothbrush. You have to be kind to them and love them unconditionally the way I do”.
Those feeling that you have right now are the same ones that children can feel, they are completely torn as to how they should be feeling. The parents who they love so much want them to love a person who is making them feel full of feelings that they may not know how to manage.
The outward display of negative behaviour is your childs way of communicating. We are very bad as adults at expecting children to manage their emotions and feelings without actually giving them the tools to be able to do so. Before looking to discipline a behaviour see if you can see what the communication is. Keep conversations open, let them know it’s ok to feel upset that toys have been moved, it’s ok to feel jealous, it’s ok to miss the times before the baby. All feelings are valid it’s how we manage those feelings that matter.
To find out more about helping your child manage big emotions visit www.relaxkids.com to find your nearest Relax Kids Coach.