Adding to the family often leads to jealousy

Most children want a sibling. But when the  baby  arrives, the older ones suddenly have to share the parents’ attention. First-borns in particular then feel neglected. “It’s completely normal for children  to be jealous  when a sister or brother is born,” says Karin Schreiner-Kürten, a qualified psychologist at the AOK Federal Association. “Good preparation and the targeted attention of the parents then help the older ones to cope with the new situation.”

If a sibling is there, older ones need a lot of attention

A lot changes in a child’s life when a sibling is born: it realizes that everything is no longer about it. It is all the more important that parents announce their offspring to their firstborn in good time. As a rule of thumb, the younger the firstborn child is, the later adults should tell them about the baby.

For children up to two years of age, it is sufficient to explain shortly before the birth that another offspring is expected. “Even during  pregnancy  , you can involve your child by sorting the baby’s laundry together, letting them rub their tummy, visiting friends with a baby or looking at picture books on the subject together,” recommends Karin Schreiner-Kürten. Parents should also prepare their daughter or son for the mother’s hospital stay. The child should know the person caring for them as well as possible beforehand.

Also give gifts to larger ones

When the sibling is born and relatives or friends come to visit, the first look is usually at the infant. The elderly are suddenly no longer the focus and react all the more jealously. The psychologist therefore advises: “Make sure that the older child also gets something when the first gifts for the baby arrive. It should also be taken into account and its progress appreciated.”

Especially in the early days it is important that parents pay as much attention to the older one as possible and show them their love – this way they can reduce fear of loss. “Consciously take time for the older child when the baby is taken care of. This way it will feel that it is just as important as the baby and that you love it just as much as you used to,” says Schreiner-Kürten. The mother or father can also pull out baby pictures of the firstborn and tell them about the time when they were babies themselves.

Spending time alone with older child

It is also important that parents spend time alone with their older daughter or son, for example reading, romping or playing. In this way they give their big one the feeling of being the main character once again. It also makes sense for the fathers to focus on the older child when the mother is breastfeeding or has to take care of the newborn. Schreiner-Kürten: “Maintain rituals that you have come to love, for example by reading a story to the firstborn as usual before going to bed.”

Involve in the care of the baby

So that the older child does not feel left out, parents can involve them in caring for the baby. For example, you can ask them if they’d like to help with  bathing , changing, or body lotion, and then compliment them on their cooperation. If the larger one does react aggressively, the adults should remain calm and accept its mixed feelings if possible.

In general, jealousy that is shown openly is better than hidden aggression. It is not uncommon for the child to be very nice to the sibling in front of the parents. If left alone with him, he will tease or nudge the baby. “Talk clearly to the big one and tell him not to be too rough with the newborn. However, the criticism should be related to the subject and not to the child as a person,” advises the psychologist. “But avoid making the child feel guilty about having negative feelings about the sibling.”

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