How to help your grandchild embrace a new sibling

How to help your grandchild embrace a new sibling

When there’s a new baby in the family, everyone’s excited – with the occasional exception of an older brother or sister! Try these tips to dispel sibling rivalry and create a lasting bond.

When there’s a new baby in the family, everyone’s excited – with the occasional exception of an older brother or sister! Try these tips to dispel sibling rivalry and create a lasting bond.

A new baby brings twice the joy, but can cause twice as many headaches too. When the parents have got their hands full with the demands of a new arrival, it’s easy for older siblings to feel left out.

All of a sudden, they’re no longer the centre of attention at home, and that can lead to tears, tantrums and sibling rivalry.

This is where grandparents can really help. With extra eyes and ears that aren’t fully occupied with the new baby, you can watch out for the older sibling feeling left out or jealous and step in with a fun distraction or something to make them feel special again.

Take a look at our suggestions for a smooth transition from one grandchild to two.

Give them extra attention

The parents are so busy with their new arrival that they’ll be overjoyed if you offer to spend some special time with the older child. And if you’ve been looking for an excuse to spoil them a bit, now is your opportunity.

Planning fun days out together will make your bond stronger than ever and help to ensure they don’t feel left out of the fuss being made over the newborn.

Encourage their love of their new sibling

There won’t always be jealousy and rivalry between your two grandchildren. If you had more than one child yourself, you’ll remember how adorable and tender they can be with each other at times.

As a grandparent, you can help the process along. Tell them how much the baby has missed them, and how pleased they are to see them. When your grandchild believes their sibling loves them, they’ll respond in kind – so the more you repeat it, the quicker it becomes true!

Let them help

They might not be ready for babysitting duties yet, but enlisting the older child in helping you care for the baby is a great way to create a bond between them. It means they don’t miss out on the attention and it encourages them to see themselves as grown up.

So when you need to change a nappy, don’t leave them to their own devices. Ask them to pass you the Pampers wipes or nappies and they’ll feel like an important part of the team that cares for the newborn.

Give them a gift in their new sibling’s name

It’s a time-honoured trick that is perfect for grandparents – after all, we all love to spoil our grandchildren. Providing a special gift (as a secret benefactor) can help the sibling relationship get off the right foot.

Treat the older grandchild to something they’ve been longing for and present it to them as a gift from their baby sibling, to show how happy they are to be together. It may be a bit of old-fashioned bribery, but it works!

Teach them how to hold the baby

Toddlers love to imitate, so they’ll want to copy how the adults care for their little brother or sister. But they probably won’t understand yet just how gentle they need to be. Teaching them some rules can help them to be safe while they bond with their new sibling.

Sit them on the sofa with a blanket and pillow while you keep careful watch, and show them how to hold the baby (and not to touch sensitive places like the eyes and mouth.) They’ll soon learn how nice it feels to show their love for their new sibling.

How have you helped new siblings learn to get along? Share your suggestions in the comments below.

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