Sibling rivalry is a natural part of siblinghood but while many new parents worry, it doesn’t need to begin at birth. In fact, some siblings rarely fight and become closer as they grow up and it all begins from the first time they lay eyes on their new baby brother or sister. There are a few methods that can help parents to create a bond between siblings that can make parenting just that little bit easier.
Let Them Feed the Baby
It can be daunting, especially with children who are a little rougher, to imagine giving him or her a bottle to feed a baby, but the best way to create a bond is to allow the older siblings be a part of the journey to raise their sibling. Let big brother or sister help hold the bottle during feeding and have Mom or Dad remind them to be gentle. Not only does this provide some beautiful family moments, but it also teaches children to be responsible and gentle with people and things that are smaller or more fragile than themselves.
If Mama is breastfeeding, it can be difficult to explain why children cannot help, but if at all possible, nurse some milk into a bottle and set some aside ahead of time to avoid impatience. The best part about this method is that it can also be used when the infant becomes old enough to eat baby food, depending on the age of the sibling.
Changing Diaper Duty
Of course, no one wants children changing stinky or even wet diapers, but there is still a way they can help! Parents can ask their children to hand them what they need, such as a clean diaper, wipes, or baby cream, to help them care for the infant. All diapers should be disposed of by adults to avoid germs, but just being able to help in some way will give them a deep sense of pride and drive them to want to do more with their sibling while also learning to be responsible.
Bedtime routines are important for preparing children to calm down for the night and get some sleep. Get the baby involved with their older siblings routine before bedtime, such as eating dinner with everyone else, brushing their teeth with their sibling, and getting their pajamas on. By sharing the normal routine, their older siblings won’t feel as though the baby is taking over their lives, but rather, that they are becoming a part of the life they already had before the baby came.
Sibling rivalry doesn’t need to start at the beginning, especially when the older child is allowed to feel important as they help around the house. Feeling responsible by helping with feedings and diaper changes allows them to grow with their siblings, which will create a bond that will hopefully stamp out most hardships that can occur with a new baby. Integrating the newest addition to an already tried and true routine will help both children to adjust to one another as well. If children ask to help out on their own, that is the first sign that they are more interested in their sibling, so always encourage them to help and over time, both children will have a sibling bond that will last a lifetime.