Strengthening Sibling Relationships With a New Baby
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This is a guest post written by Michelle Huddleston from With The Huddlestons for our Welcoming Baby Series. Read more about Michelle at the end of this post.
When having multiple children, you may wonder how the other siblings will act in return. As a mom of soon-to-be five children, I have learned to embrace what welcoming a new baby can do for an entire family.
While worrying about having everything in place, all the new baby stuff ordered, and the house in tip-top shape, there is something else to consider that takes place much earlier than the baby’s due date.
I’d like to share 3 tips for strengthening sibling relationships with a new baby, and hopefully give you some ideas to consider with your next bundle of joy.
Start Introducing Baby Early
With my most recent pregnancy, I start including the children in on my weekly updates. I use the Baby Center app and we look at the current size of baby, watch a video of how much he/she has grown, and they battle over what gender they think the baby will be. 🙂
I have noticed their excitement grows with each passing week and they look forward to seeing how much baby has grown since our last update. This also sparks questions that are exciting to answer.
They are truly fascinated at watching the same process they went through from conception to the little boys and girl they are now.
Include Siblings in Choosing Things for Baby
There are many ways to include siblings in helping to choose things for the new baby:
- selecting a name
- new clothing
- blankets and other accessories
- room color and decor
- special toys
The list could continue forever, but the point is to allow the siblings to contribute to getting something for the new baby. My children’s faces light up when one does something similar for the other so the same could be true when they know they are picking something out for their newest sibling.
What they pick out could also show you as the parent more than you think. My daughter is a natural nurturer so picking out a nice, soft blanket most likely connects with her voicing that she’d like to hold the baby all the time (LOL).
An extra tip: Chat about why your child chose what they did for the new baby. It could open up something you never knew about them!
When you let your other children be involved in preparing for the new baby, it brings great excitement! These simple tasks can easily help when wanting to create bonds that will aid in strengthening sibling relationships when a new baby is on the horizon!
Delegate Sibling Responsibilities
In child terms, this simply means giving each sibling a job for once the baby is actually earthside. Of course, these could (and should) be discussed weeks prior to the baby making his or her arrival, but they can help in so many ways.
It is totally common to be hesitant at first. I definitely was once I had my second child. I let her older brother hold her sometimes, but most of the time I had thoughts of him dropping her -I’m not the only one, right?
But as time passed and my confidence grew, so did my ability to include the older siblings much more.
After having my third child, the oldest two were hands-on and helping early on. Now, I see more than ever the help that all the siblings can be, down to the youngest toddler.
Some ideas of responsibilities siblings can have are:
- stocking the diaper and wipe area
- folding the burp cloths
- cleaning the baby tub
- folding the baby’s clothes
- reading a book to baby
- joining baby for tummy time
Often times these are things that we as moms do instinctively; however, giving these responsibilities to a sibling can help take some of the pressure off of us and in return give us more time to relax.
Bonds Not Easily Broken
I can’t say that the tips in this post are sure ways to create positive and lasting bonds between siblings, but I do know that when siblings are taught how to connect with one another and are given the opportunities to do so, it can aid in developing bonds that are not easily broken.
Also, if you have a child that isn’t as hands-on or all-in, that’s okay too. Sometimes siblings process a new baby differently and would much rather have space. In those instances, take time to talk one-on-one with that child and find out what they’re thinking. Maybe it’s not as bad as it seems.
Strengthening sibling relationships can take time!
No matter how many children you have, may you be encouraged in knowing that children are a heritage from God, and the fruit of the womb is the reward (Psalm 127:3).
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Michelle Huddleston is an author, international speaker, and owner of one of the fastest-growing virtual academy’s for homeschooling families. She is passionate about linking arms with other moms and helping them live unapologetically authentic in their call to be wives, mothers, and homeschooling moms. Connect with Michelle on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.