A peaceful home is a happy home. It’s important to cultivate a spirit of peace and camaraderie within your home. Even when the home is loud and busy because of young children, the chaos should come from the noise level of their fun endeavors.
The chaos shouldn’t, ideally, come from constant arguments and fights. When you have a sibling rivalry within a home, this can manifest into a lot of negative experiences and emotions. When one sibling knows that the other one is constantly trying to compete with them, this cultivates emotions like distrust, angst and isolation.
In order to make sure that your children don’t grow up with a constant feeling of rivalry, do all in your power to make sure they’re friends. As a parent, you have the power to foster positive relationships within the home. Start from birth. When a new baby is introduced to the family, you have the ability to eliminate any negative emotions with a few practices. Consider these five tips in order to deal with sibling rivalry and a new baby.
Explain the Process
If you’re a mother who went through the process of surrogacy, the journey is a lot more intense. You might not be able to explain all of the details to a 4-year old in layman’s terms; however, you can explain the process in a kid-friendly way. Explain the surrogacy process in a simplified manner. In a simple way, talk about the journey to get their new baby brother or sister into the family. You can talk about what an amazing gift it is for someone else to help them get a baby brother or sister. Children can learn about the specific details regarding the surrogacy process when they are older. When the sibling gets a better understanding of the precious gift the newborn baby is, they might have a greater respect and admiration for their new sibling.
Allow the Siblings to Bond
There are many ways that siblings can bond with one another. Even when the baby is a newborn, there are ways you can become strategic in this effort. When the baby first comes and you are all at the hospital, allow the sibling the opportunity to hold the baby. Even before the baby comes, take your child to go and pick out a gift for the new baby. At the same time, find a gift that you can give to the sibling on behalf of the newborn baby. Do the gift exchange when the baby is born. This is a special way to welcome a new child into the family, and it allows the siblings to bond with one another. Even though the baby won’t know what’s going on, the older sibling will.
Encouraging the older sibling to give their new brother or sister a goodnight kiss every night is a great way to establish a physically close relationship. Also, allow some time for the sibling to talk with the baby. Allow them the opportunity to write sweet letters to their new baby brother or sister. They can read the letter aloud. Ask your oldest child to draw a new family picture that includes the new baby. Display the artwork in a special place. As you facilitate these types of activities, the older sibling will become more excited about their new brother or sister. They’ll also be able to feel like they’re emotionally invested in the process.
Make the Siblings Feel Responsible
Allow the older sibling to be “mommy’s little helper” and take part in the caretaking process. It can be as simple as asking your child to give you the diapers and wipes to change the baby. If the baby is crying and you’re rocking him or her to sleep, perhaps you and your oldest child can sing the same soothing song together. This can be the baby’s song to help it fall asleep. As the children get older, their assignments can become more involved. However, understand that a simple task like making sure the baby has their rubber ducky for bath time can be a major deal for an older sibling.
Speak in Your Child’s Love Language
If quality time is important to one child, make sure that you spend quality time with them after the new baby arrives. In many cases, you’re tired, and that might be a difficult promise to make. However, there are ways to juggle the load. If you know that your child responds to affection, give them lots of hugs and kisses on a consistent basis. Try to reinforce the love by intentionally expressing it in a way they understand. When you make it a point to do this with a new baby, the older sibling will have an easier time associating lots of love with the new baby’s arrival.
Never Show Favoritism
At one point, the oldest sibling was the center of attention. Your eyes lit up when they entered a room, and they knew they were your favorite. As many people will shift their focus to the cute, new baby, don’t make the mistake of showing favoritism. There are small things you can do to make sure the oldest sibling still feels valued and deeply loved. Children like to know they’re loved and adored. When your child comes in the room, use your words to uplift them. Be intentional about smiling brightly when they enter the room. Greet them with excitement. It might take effort when you’re tired, and you don’t want it to be forced. However, always make sure that your little girl or boy knows that they’re still incredibly special and loved. Now that you have more than one child, make sure each child understands that they hold a special place in your heart. Each child is the apple of your eye in a different yet uniquely wonderful way.
Remain consistent with these efforts. Healthy, positive relationships between siblings are worth their weight in gold. As a parent, you should want to see your children get along with one another. If you start from birth, you’ll have a better chance of having children who become the best of friends. As a parent, that’s one of the greatest gifts you can give your children.
Sibling rivalry is toxic, but there are ways to eliminate the likelihood of it happening in your family. Use these tips to become strategic and intentional when introducing a newborn baby into the family.