Keeping your other children happy

A new little brother or sister is a huge thing for a child who has so far only known a world that revolves around them. It can be confusing and upsetting when mummy and daddy suddenly turn their attentions to feeding, changing and cuddling someone else at all hours of the day (and night)!

If you’re pregnant again, preparing your child for the new addition to your growing family before the birth can make all the difference, but there are lots of things that can help once your baby arrives home.

looking after the rest of the family

Stick to their routine

It’s important to try to stick to your first child’s routine; mealtimes, playtimes and bedtime should stay the same as usual, with your newborn’s routine fitting in around them. Setting any kind of routine for a newborn in the first few weeks is a difficult job, but by keeping the disruption to a minimum for your other children, you’ll only have one baby without a routine, rather than the whole family!

Make them feel useful

Involving them in daily activities will make them understand that they’re an important part of the family, and that their little baby brother or sister (and you!) need their help. If they’re big enough, let them give their new brother or sister a cuddle. Help them choose what the baby should wear. Ask them to help out by fetching a nappy. Little tasks will stop them feeling left out.

Spend special time together

Although getting older children involved in caring for their sibling helps, don’t forget to make sure you spend as much quality time just the two of you, without the distraction of your newborn. Whether it’s a trip to the park or a bedtime story, they’ll love the chance to have you all to themselves!

looking after the rest of the family

How your partner may be feeling

Lots of dads say that becoming a dad again gives them the opportunity to spend time and build an even stronger bond with their first born. Others find that if an older child is demanding more of mum’s time, it gives dad the chance to take a more active role in looking after their newborn – something they may not have been so hands-on about before. Children aside, it’s easy to spend all of your spare time looking after your growing family and forgetting to look after your partner and your relationship, so just remember to try and have some quality time as a couple too.

Role models

It’s often said that one of the reasons younger children can seem a little more well-behaved than their big brothers and sisters is because they learn from their older siblings’ mistakes! Some parents say that having an older child at the dinner table when weaning a toddler makes things a lot easier, as it encourages babies to copy them and give new foods a go. Clearly, children learn a lot from each other, and giving your older child the responsibility of setting a good example is a great way to make them feel important (and stop them misbehaving!).

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