Oct 2, 2017

Dr. Gellner: A new baby is an exciting time for parents but not always for big brothers and sisters. How can you help your children prepare for a new edition to the family? I'll give you some tips on today's Scope. I'm Dr. Cindy Gellner.

Announcer: Keep your kids healthy and happy. You are now entering the Healthy Kids Zone with Dr. Cindy Gellner, on The Scope.

Dr. Gellner: Sibling rivalry with an older child and a new baby might be inevitable, but if you help older siblings adjust to the fact that there is a new edition coming, it might not be so dramatic. You can begin by letting your children know you're expecting as soon as you're letting friends and family know. Get them involved with preparations for the new baby. This could be as simple as letting them pick out decor for the new baby's room or even getting their input on the name for the new baby.

Let them pick out a special gift from them to the new baby. And be sure to get a gift for them from the new baby as well to give them when the new baby is born. Talk to them about how important the job of big sister or big brother is, and that they will help teach their new baby all sorts of things. Remind them that they will not be loved any less because this is a real fear of many children, especially first-born children who have never had to share mom or dad. Once the new baby is born and has come home, have the older siblings be your big helpers, getting diapers, reading stories to the baby, helping get other supplies that are needed.

When the baby is napping, be sure to spend quality time with the older siblings. Take pictures of your older child with the new baby. Give a copy of the picture to your older child so that they can show off their new baby to friends, and put another copy by the new baby's crib or bassinet so the new baby starts recognizing their sibling. Have your older child help with baby care, getting diapering supplies, feeding the baby if you're bottle-feeding with formula or express breast milk. And let them know how awesome it is that they're being such big helpers with everything.

Be prepared for some setbacks with the older siblings. It's not uncommon for them to revert to more childish behaviors or even to regress on potty training if they've been working on that. Jealousy is very common. And remind your older child that they are big. And remind them of all the things that they can do that the new baby can't. The most important thing is to make sure your older child knows how much you love them and how special they are to you.

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