In part one, we addressed speaking to your child before the new arrival to help avoid jealousy rearing its ugly head. We touched upon what to do in the event that your child is already jealous. Now we will take an in depth look at prevention and addressing current issues.
When Jealousy Makes an Appearance
When jealousy makes an appearance the first thing to do is figure out the nature of the jealousy. Does your child show anger and resentment? Are they lashing out or acting out? Are they just being uncharacteristic, seeming detached, or emotionally distant? Understanding and acknowledging the nature of the jealousy will help you to plan your next move. A lot will depend on the type of personality your child has. You know your child better than anybody. Watching them for changes will help you to act sooner rather than later, after the feelings have grown in them. In any case, hope is not lost. In fact, jealousy is absolutely normal!
After you have broken the news to your child that your family will be growing, it is time to begin regular talks about what to expect. Yes, you can let your child know about how great having a little brother or sister will be, but you should also point out that these great things will mostly take place after the baby has grown some. Letting your child know that at first, the baby will be small and helpless will help them to be prepared. Letting them know that the baby will have to be given a lot of attention for a while is also a good idea.
However, instead of explaining that you will need to give the baby a lot of attention, you can explain how the whole family needs to be together on giving the baby this much-needed attention. Make your child understand the realities, but also let them know that they have a big role to play. Don’t forget, however, that you will need to give them this responsibility once the baby is actually here – even if it means taking a longer route, or the project taking just a little bit longer to accomplish.
Creating Routines to Help Ease Feelings of Jealousy
Creating routines will help to establish an existing order once the baby has arrived. Believe me, creating routines now will help to avoid a great deal of issues later on! Routines should always be easy to follow. Keep them very, very basic. Establishing these routines will be a big help once the baby is here, because they will have already become engrained in your family’s minds and become habits.
Some routines can start by enacting daily or weekly practice drills that can show what daily life with baby will be like. Teaching your child how to properly handle a diaper when placing it in a diaper genie, handing you clean, fresh diapers and diaper wipes can also be invaluable when you are in a position where you need these things placed in your hand. Another routine can be a new wake up time or even a shift in responsibilities between both parents, which can be quite varied. The main thing to remember is that instead of preparing your child to understand why your presence will be scarce, start focusing on how to include your child to be a big part of your daily routines.