It is very easy for us to understand everything that the older child may be feeling and going through at home when a new sibling is on the way or has just arrived. Their mixed emotions including outbursts of aggression and regression may frequently carry over to their behaviour at your setting as well. As childminders we are in a position to help them by showing them that they are still important to us and that the arrival of the new baby changes nothing here. Instead of overreacting to negative behaviour, validate the child’s feelings and help him figure out safe ways to express them. Remember, your relationship with the older child came first and you can really help the older child by showering them with attention and most of all offering consistency of care and love during this big change in their lives.
You can also help in practical ways by teaching them what to expect from a new baby: no, they will not have a new playmate for some years yet. Mummy will be kept very busy looking after the new baby and they will have to learn to wait for things. One way to teach small children about what small babies DO is to talk about what they were like when they were babies so they will have a good idea of what to expect.
But it is also exciting to become a big sister or big brother, and you can also help the older child by making them feel that the new baby likes them. There are some simple ideas for art projects in my Be Safe Be Healthy Pack that small children can make FOR the baby that the baby will like and will help the older child to feel that the baby likes them.
What are the key points I should tell the children?
- It’s exciting to become a big brother or big sister.
- It’s ok to also feel nervous or upset.
- There are lots of things you can do to help with the new baby.
- New babies don’t do a lot at first: mainly they sleep and drink a lot of milk.