Before we had our second daughter I braced for the worst. Jealousy, battles over toys, constant competition for our time.
As an only child, I had no first hand experience with sibling dynamics, and felt a bit like I was about to set sail into uncharted waters. I craved some guidance.
While I read, Viv practiced.
What I did not expect, was the pure unconditional love. From the moment she was born.
Her gaze – you cannot fake that adoration.
There are three pieces of advice that I found the most useful and truly impactful right from the start:
1. Don’t hold the new baby when your older child first arrives to meet them in the hospital.
You want to be able to greet your older child with open (and empty) arms. This is likely the first time they have seen you in a day or two as well, so they will crave your undivided attention and affection. It is a small detail, but one that I found logical.
2. Have a little gift wrapped and waiting that is “from” the new baby. Good old fashioned bribery!
We got this doctors kit and it was a huge hit – it was interactive and provided a way for the two of them to “play” from the start. A swaddled sleeping baby is the most patient of patients!
3. In the beginning, when both kids are crying, tend to the older sibling FIRST.
This may seem counterintuitive when you are faced with a screaming, completely helpless newborn. But your newborn won’t remember that you comforted the other first. Your older child will, and will grow resentful.
As Celia has gotten older and more vocal, there are more conflicts. But wow do these girls love eachother.
So what do you think? Do you have any favorite tips for helping ease sibling jealousy? I am especially curious to hear suggestions for helping siblings deal with conflict as they get older, more vocal and mobile.