Jealousy is said to be the main reason behind sibling rivalry. It is natural for any siblings to have this feeling especially if one has been the only child for the last 3 to 4 years. The older child feels threaten by the latest addition to the family. Will mom and dad not love me anymore just like before? Why do all the adults keep fussing over the baby? What about me? These may be the questions that keep recurring in his mind. Gone are the days whereby undivided attention is the norm in his life. Now he has to share his time with baby.
So, how do we deal with sibling rivalry? First, get a book or any reading materials to read up about this sticky situation. Other mothers’ experiences can sometimes help too. It is best to start talking to the toddler about the arrival of the baby during pregnancy. Talk about the baby inside you. Let him feel the baby moving by placing his hand on your tummy. Let him talk or even sing to the baby. By doing all these he will be involved in the process and learn to love his younger sibling. Ask for his opinions on clothes or toys to be bought. Don’t forget to buy him a pair when you go shopping for baby’s clothes!
The first few months with the new baby at home will be the real testing ground. After just imagining the presence of baby, now she is already here in person. Though you have prepared your toddler to the best for this, do expect to see some mood changes. The feelings of being neglected, not getting enough attention, will creep into him. As the mother, you must try to recognize the changes in his feelings. The more obvious will be some behaviourial
changes. He may be jumping on the sofa when visitors come, so as to get more attention. To avoid making scenes like this, dad may take time off to be with him. Take him to the playground or go and buy ice cream at the nearby store. Do things together with him to make him feel that, he still gets the attention he used to have before. When he talks to you, take time to listen. He may be communicating to you about his feelings.
Though you may feel skeptic about leaving your two young children together, nonetheless you need to let him play with baby. Remember that sibling rivalry is a normal process and by letting them play together, it will help create the necessary bonding. Accept his offer if he wants to help. You can ask him to bring the baby diaper during changing time. However, never leave them alone. Supervise them or have someone look after them.
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