6. Be open to sibling’s feeling
Older sibling needs a little extra attention, extra guidance, extra reassurance, little extra love.
Your child will need to express both positive and negative feelings.
“Two big feelings”
It’s natural for a sibling to feel proud and loving and, at the same time, jealous and angry.
7. Stay positive
Do “parental marketing” to promote sibling harmony. Emphasize how much the baby likes the older sibling. “Look how happy she gets when you play with her.”
You may think the older sibling would be thrilled to have gained a live-in friend, but children are often preoccupied with what they’ve lost.
When you are busy attending to the baby talk to the older child. When nursing, read a story or play a game.
Use the term “special time.”
Arrange one-on-one outings for the older sibling…..especially with Dad.
Special trips to park, ice cream store, etc. help him realize that even though he has lost some time with mom, he gets more special time with Dad, grandparents, other care givers.
Accept regressive behaviors (thumb-sucking, clinging) these are temporary.
8. Begin the day in harmony. It’s like an investment in the rest of the day.
If possible, start most days with “special time” with toddler. 20 minutes of special cuddle time can ward off angry feelings towards the new baby.
9. Raise sensitive siblings.
Nurture patterns of life-long friendship by helping them find constructive ways to be sensitive to each other. Learning to live with a sibling is a first lesson in getting along with other children.
Parents’ role in promoting sibling harmony is as a facilitator.
Sets conditions that foster a positive relationship between them.
Facilitate one of the following relationships:
1. Sibling in charge If several years apart, give older sibling some supervised responsibility for the younger one. This motivates the older sibling to care and the younger one to sense his caring. Even a toddler can gently hold and pat the tiny baby under supervision.
2. Sibling as comforter When baby is hurt, ask sibling to comfort.
3. Sibling as minister If physically or emotionally hurt, sibling “lays on hands.”
4. Sibling as teacher Child teaches a skill to sibling.
5. Sibling as co-worker Assign children tasks that require
cooperation and motivate them to work together.
6. Sibling as co-sleeper Children who sleep together at night, play more peacefully during the day.
7. Sibling as entertainer Humor the baby.
10. Set Limits
Give clear messages about how you expect your kids to behave towards one another before arguments become a way of life.
Head off fights at the first squabble…how siblings behave towards one another is the first lesson in how to behave in a group.
Ignore “smallies”…..address “biggies.”
Simply state the consequences and what you expect. Come back…if not settled, toy goes away.