Older siblings. Wow! It must be such a shock to the system when a new sibling comes. Thanks Mummy and Daddy; am I not enough and you want another?? This must be hard for them. You do have to manage an older sibling when a new baby comes.
We had no idea how my eldest would react to Piglet. I wrote a post a while back to explain how we had prepared her for the new arrival but like the majority of parenting; you don’t really have the foggiest.
Our biggest problem with the gremlin is getting very over excited around Piglet. She puts her hands all over her, there are wandering knees and elbows. She is often generally very silly and stops listening. Honestly, I think this is her way of dealing with us focusing some attention on Piglet. She’s not a nasty girl so I don’t think a swift kick or hit is in her nature, so I guess she diverts her feelings into being ridiculous! A week or so ago there was a bit of rejection of me which was very tough. This didn’t last though; she is very fickle.
However, we have noticed a few things that have really helped us and I thought I would write a post in the hope of helping others. Obviously all kids are different but you never know and I hope you too can manage an older sibling when a new baby comes.
Manage an Older Sibling
– Try not to change the routine much. Breakfast is quite an important time in our house. The gremlin is always starving and loves her cereal, egg or toast. We tend to eat together and all the way through the pregnancy she always wanted to sit near me. So, even when I am whacked (hubby gives me a lie in when he can) I try and get up with her and we have our breakfast together. We had dropped her nursery days down to 2 a day a few weeks before Piglet came, so this has also continued without much fuss. I have also tried to feed and run and pick her up from nursery too.
– One on one time. The biggest thing that has helped!! Playing flipping babies or Elsa and Anna at 7.30am is not my favourite thing to do when I have had a later night or been up but powering through and having that time with your first born is really important. Hubby cuddles Piglet or she sleeps and I have a play. When Piglet sleeps we go to the park and the gremlin gets my undivided then too. The gremlin is lovely and we have no problems.
– We didn’t send her away. My Mum offered and to be fair the gremlin probably would have gone but we didn’t want her to feel pushed out, so she stayed with us for the whole of hubby’s paternity leave.
– Try not to shout! This is soooo hard sometimes when I have asked the gremlin to get off Piglet for the millionth time with her ignoring me. I have to SERIOUSLY bite my lip. Shouting at the gremlin causes tears and genuine upset so we try so hard not too, remain calm and try another tactic.
– Let the gremlin have cuddles with Piglet and try not to panic when her hands are in her face!! I feel awful constantly nagging the gremlin to leave Piglet alone so when she asked to hold her little sister we oblige and let them have snuggles.
– Be nonchalant about the newborn. I didn’t want it to all be about the baby. If Piglet needs a feed when I’m playing with the gremlin she is just passed to me and the games continue. If I have to feed her in the bath when I’m with gremlin we tried it and it was fine. Sometimes I ask the gremlin if she minds me feeding as we play and she always says no, as long as the attention mainly stays on her, all is good.
– Get them involved. The gremlin loves to look at a pooey nappy (yep gross) and will pass me things. She helps to get the pram out sometimes or has gone and chosen a vest and baby grow for Piglet in the mornings. She is getting pretty independent and we are encouraged her to dress herself a bit more and get her cereal so she feels more grown up.
– Try to schedule some people visiting when the gremlin is at nursery. This is good two fold. She doesn’t think everyone is coming to see the new baby and I can actually have a conversation!! Definitely worth it.
I think a lot of these tips are quite obvious. All we wanted was to slot little Piglet into our family without too much disruption. We wanted to keep the gremlin’s routine the same and try and keep her as happy as possible. We do worry we over analyse sometimes but it is such a big change for everyone and when you love your first born so much, you want them to feel secure.
It has not all been smooth but nowhere near as bad as we expected (so far!).
Can you think of any tips you would add to manage an older sibling when a new baby comes?