“Try to imagine a woman whose husband tells her: Honey, I’ve got new better-looking wife coming along, and you’ll be moving to a room down the hall. But don’t worry, I’ll love you both the same, and there is plenty of room for all of us”. (Cindy Crawford explaining what it’s like for a firstborn when a little sister or brother joins the family).
There is no doubt about it, when a new baby arrives in the family, the oldest one is “dethroned”. However, I am absolutely convinced that having a sibling is A PRECIOUS GIFT!
What can we do, as parents, in order to help our oldest child feel that her place is still secured, that she is still loved unconditionally, and extremely significant to our family?
Make your child a FULL PARTNER in the process - from the pregnancy on, and when the baby arrives…. share with her about everything that is happening, and ask for her opinion (like: “which toy should we buy for the baby”?)
Emphasize how BIG and INDEPENDENT your child is – express all the things she is already doing on her own, and encourage for more autonomy and ability.
ASK your child FOR HELP – Not only “please bring me the diaper”, but also “why do you think the baby is crying”?
Highlight how much THE BABY LOVES HER – “Look at how he smiles at you…”! or “Whenever you sing him a song, he instantly calms down…”
There might be some REGRESSIVE BEHAVIORS (like wetting again or back to whining a lot). The reason is because she sees the baby is getting a lot of attention when “behaving” like a baby - Respond in a PRACTICAL way, but do give EMPATHY for her world to have been shaken up a bit, and “allow” her to also “behave” like a baby from time to time.
Give your child some exclusive ONE-ON-ONE time – no big-long-hour “dates”, but small simple 10-15 minutes a day, EVERY DAY.