Sometimes children can become jealous of the new baby. Even when they are excited throughout the pregnancy, once they see how much attention the new baby needs, they may begin feeling resentful or left out. This, however, can be easily cured.
When Jealousy Rears its Ugly Head
During your pregnancy, your child or children may experience feelings of joy. It is easy for a child to be excited for the thought of a new baby. Having a new playmate is a very happy thought for a child! However, once the baby comes home, the child may experience new feelings. These feelings are not the happy feelings they envisioned. This is because nothing is how they expected it to be. Things are different from how they imagined things: their new best pal is not quite the pal they thought would be strolling through the door.
What They Envisioned& the Reality
Since the moment your child found out that you were expecting a brand new little bundle of joy, they most likely envisioned running through the house hand in hand, laughing and playing. They cannot wait until their new sibling comes home so the fun adventures can begin. Why? They were probably told that this is how things would be. You most likely explained how great having a brand new brother or sister will be to try and prevent them feeling upset to begin with.
However, it is often overlooked that children do not have a good perception of time. They may not realize that their pal won’t be ready for play time for a while. It definitely isn’t time when they first come home. In fact, when baby first comes home – and for about the first 4 months – the baby is going to consume much of your time and attention. This undoubtedly may lead to jealousy.
What you can do to Prevent Jealousy
To help prevent these situations from arising, it is good to be as straight forward with your child as humanly possible. Let them know that mommy and daddy will be very busy with baby, and tired. Let them know how fantastic everything will be, but at first there will be a lot of hard work. Try explaining how fragile babies are, and how they depend on the family for everything. Explain these things during the pregnancy so older siblings know what to expect.
You can honestly let them know that the baby will depend on big brother or big sister especially for making funny faces, and acting silly for their amusement. They can even lend a finger for the baby to squeeze as long as mommy or daddy is present. They can be given plenty of responsibilities, in fact, they will probably love them. Just let them know that it is all part of helping baby to grow to be their new best friend and play pal – just tell them in advance.
Once Jealousy has Already Occurred
If in the event that jealousy has already occurred, explaining this reality may help them to understand. Taking care of a newborn is time consuming, but try never to be too busy to let big brother or sister lend a helping hand. In fact, it may actually take a load off of your shoulders. Have your child bring you a diaper and the wipes, hand you the burping towel, hand you the hand sanitizer, etc. Letting them be a part of the daily baby duties will make a big difference in how they feel about the baby, or how they process this new routine.