Helping Older Siblings Cope

After a new infant arrives, an older child sometimes resorts to baby-like behavior. For example, she may follow you around or carry an old teddy bear again. If your child regresses like this, realize that it is normal behavior, his way of ensuring that he still has your love and attention. Positive reinforcement works here. Praise big boy/girl behavior instead of expecting the child to act his age.

Over the next few months, you can help kids get more comfortable with the idea of a new brother or sister. Of course, how they react will to some degree be age dependent but in general here are some suggestions:

  • Help children feel like it’s their baby too. Take them shopping for baby items, and find other ways to involve them in the preparation. Allow the older siblings to feel that they have a role to play in caring for the baby.

  • When you’re out and about, point out other “big siblings” and babies as an example of how it will be when the baby comes.

  • Set aside one-on-one time every day for you and each child. Read, play games, or show them their own baby pictures. After you bring the new baby home, keep up this routine so kids continue to get the attention and reassurance they need.

Online Medical Reviewer: Jovino, Louise DO

Date Last Reviewed: 4/2/2010

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