Having a second child, or a third, fourth, can be a real upheaval for the previous child, especially if it is close together. However, the jealousy of the elder towards the baby is far from inevitable. Here are some tips that can make a real big difference in the family, like they did in mine when our second child arrived and then our third. Obviously, the temperament of our elder brother also plays a role, but our attitude has a real impact.
Forward for the tips!
Let’s prevent the second child from “rotting” his life before he is even born.
Rather than “I can’t because of the baby”, let’s explain things differently
Before having a second child, a friend had lent me a book explaining the pregnancy and the birth of the future little brother to the big sister. I was stunned by this book which told that Mum was very tired because of the baby, that she could no longer come to play at the park because of the baby, that you should not cry near the belly, etc. In short, the story of “How your future little brother is already ruining your life, when he is not even born yet”. It seems that there are children who even kick their mother’s stomach …
Couldn’t this behavior be avoided if we were careful that pregnancy is not synonymous with coercion and prohibition for the elder / eldest child? For example, trying to find alternatives to explain things, without placing all the blame on the future
new born. for example “You’ve grown pretty damn heavy and you’ve become heavy. I can’t carry you anymore. Instead, ask daddy who’s stronger ”rather than“ I can’t carry you because of the baby ”.
Stop making recommendations for the future
Imagine welcoming a colleague, and your boss and all your collaborators telling you every week for 6 months: “You know, your new colleague is coming soon. You have to take good care of her and introduce everyone to her. And also, lend her your workstation if she wants to. You are happy, aren’t you? “Uh… Frankly, no!
So, imagine what it can do to our eldest when dad, mom and the entourage explain to him “so, are you happy? Are you going to have a little brother? You will have to be nice to him ”. Obviously, it won’t be easy for our first child to happily await the baby’s arrival. It can be annoying, even stressful. Especially if we keep telling him that we have to be kind, wise, not to do this, to behave like that, etc. How can he rejoice at the arrival of this second child?
On the contrary, let’s present this arrival to her in a positive way, in order to help her welcome this infant in joy and good humor, rather than already giving rise to jealousy: “You’re going to be a sister, that’s great! What will you want to do with your brother when he’s born? Would you like to give him the bottle? And when he’s older, will you want to play ball with him? ”. Put it in the word: convey to him our joy and our enthusiasm for the arrival of this second child.
Then let’s avoid that his arrival is only a source of constraints
Once the second child arrives, it is the same. How to love a child who monopolizes your toys, becomes the center of the attention of Mom and Dad, and breaks all your little habits and your family rituals? Overall, if we manage to ensure that our first child “wins” on this new arrival rather than “loses”, that would be ideal. “Thanks to the baby’s arrival, I am on maternity leave. So I’ll be able to pick you up from school! Dad is going to be home for a month, we will be able to play with you no longer! ” .
It’s also a matter of communication, avoiding saying that you can’t do this or that because of the second child. For example, to the question “Mom, are you coming to play Loto with me?” “, The simple fact of answering” No, I give the bottle to your brother “can annoy the big one. Responding to him “Yes, prepare the lottery and I’ll be there” will avoid increasing this feeling of jealousy that he may already feel.
Moreover, to go further and allow good understanding to settle and last, to avoid (as much as possible) arguments, motivate them to share and avoid untimely jealousy, discover the ” Brother and Sister Team Pack ”, a complete (and free) file full of leads and keys so that our kids get along better day after day. Leave us your email below and receive it free of charge! On the way to reach for a brotherly accomplice and well in his sneakers. It’s over there… 👉
Tips for spending time with the big one, despite the second child
Even when the baby is “easy,” it takes time to care for him. And this time could be devoted to the great “before”. And the attention of dad and / or mom, it is extremely important in the eyes of a child (see also the attachment theory). This lack of availability (from the point of view of the large) can participate greatly in creating and growing jealousy in our eldest. A good way to avoid this jealousy is to involve the elder, to team up with him facing this baby.
Ask him his opinion
– “Hey, he’s crying this baby.” What do you think he has? “
– (child) “Maybe he’s hungry Mom?” “
– ” You are definitely right. I will try to feed him / bottle ”.
Our elder then feels useful, And that changes everything. And better, it is he who is then the driving force behind the fact that we are going to feed him, which makes a real difference with “Wait Loulou.” You can see that baby is crying, I have to feed him. “
Involve him in certain choices
“Come with me, we’ll choose clothes together!” What do you think we put on him? Pants or a dress? Do you think he needs a bodysuit so he doesn’t get cold? “We install a step near the changing table so that the elder can watch and participate (if he wishes and according to his age)” You want to try to put his sock on? »« Oulàlà, he does not seem happy to be putting on his bodysuit! “Isn’t he too cute like that ?!” “
Of course, it is not a question of making our big one responsible for things that are beyond him (making him watch his brother / sister on the high table, etc.). Rather, it’s about making the moments with the baby playful, and to involve our big one, so that he feels useful and “big”, team up with us. We share our enthusiasm with him. A bit like playing with dolls with our oldest child, except that we are the ones holding the doll 😉. It can also be an opportunity to talk to him / her about him / her when he / she was a baby.
Occupy the elder while breastfeeding / bottle-feeding
- Often, when we are breastfeeding and the big one asks us, it is not easy to manage both. Here is an idea that my oldest loved: stick stickers on baby’s clothes while I was feeding him! Activity that my oldest had found herself: she stuck pink stickers on the right leg of the pants, blue on the left leg. And she found that very funny!
- Can also read stories to the greatest, or even have him prepare a game “then, I’m going to be the yellow cars.” Can a mechanic put gas in my cars? I am blocked ! Thank you sir, but I think I’m down. Can you move my car forward? “
- We can also regularly suggest to him to participate (if he wishes) to give the bottle, or to console him, or to help us by going to get the bib, by putting water on the cottons, etc. This allows us to make the older child feel useful while we are taking care of the baby. And it’s rewarding, he feels like be part of the team !
Don’t ask him to share everything right away
We could say to ourselves that he must know that he is not the king, and that he must share. But, not only, he shares his stroller or his room, but also his life, his house and his parents with this new little being. And that’s already a lot! Why not give him time to learn to share his toys little by little. In the meantime, let’s do the opposite: the baby adores his big brother, or his big sister, and agrees to lend him all these new toys, and these soft toys! “ Of course your little brother will lend you his new plush! “. And instead of heightening the elder’s jealousy, it can instead have the opposite effect.
Regarding the things that he will necessarily have to share with the “little one”, such as the bedroom and the stroller, the way of presenting the thing is essential. Don’t you find that there is a difference between saying “The baby will sleep in your room, you should not make noise” and ” We are going to prepare the baby’s bed together and it is you who will choose where we put it in the room ” ? Involving him in the decision by leaving him the “choice” can be a good solution.
It would be such a shame to scold him because of his little brother
The best way to create jealousy is to scold the elder for the baby. And it is even worse when there is no bad intention on the part of the big one. For example, scolding her because he hugs her too hard. What a pity to slow him down in his gestures of affection! Better to explain to him, invite him to watch how his little brother reacts “look at his face, he’s happy there, you think?”. Even today, I take it upon myself not to order my daughter to stop hitting her little brother to play, and instead I ask her “Don’t you think you’re hurting him here?” “. Three times out of 4, she replies “No, look, he’s kidding!” “. And she’s right… Besides, when she doesn’t, it usually ends with a “sorry baby, sorry” and another hug… less strong.
It’s not funny to be tall
I remember a few sentences we said, thinking we were doing the right thing: “You are tall, so you can eat on your own”; “You, you’re not a baby, so you don’t cry” or “You, you’re tall. So you don’t have a bottle anymore ”or“ He’s a baby. It’s normal, if he cries. ”.
Even if most children want to be grown up, if we explain to them that being a baby brings “privileges”, they will do everything to be considered as babies too. And among other things, cry. So to minimize this, it is already good to avoid saying “because it is a baby”, and rather to privilege “he cries because he is hungry. And when babies are hungry, they have a stomach ache. Do you have a stomach ache? “. And from time to time, of course, the older one will want to be pampered like the younger one. So when we see “he’s playing the baby”, why not offer to play “baby” for fake? Allowing him to play the baby for fake, to be cocooned too, it’s funny. And when the game is over, he won’t be a baby anymore! And this precisely avoids creating jealousy over something that our big one cannot achieve.
Even though jealousy is partly linked to a child’s character, all these little gestures can make a big difference! And to go further, the non-violent communication and active listening can be wonderful tools to help us better understand and welcome the emotions of our children.
Take care of yourself.