Shahid Kapoor and Mira Rajput’s daughter Misha has now welcomed a baby brother. Here are some tips for parents that can help them prepare their firstborn for a sibling.
Bollywood actor Shahid Kapoor and Mira Rajput welcomed their second child, a baby boy. The couple’s first child Misha, who is two years old, has now become the elder sister to her baby brother.
As heartwarming as welcoming a newborn in the family is, the firstborn, especially if he or she is too young, often finds it difficult to adjust with the presence of a new member in the house. It becomes difficult for the child to share the parents’ attention with the baby. This may lead to feelings of discomfort or jealousy, translating into sibling rivalry. In such cases, how can parents prepare the firstborn for a sibling? Here are some tips:
Involve your firstborn during pregnancy
For the firstborn, who is still too young to comprehend why his or her mother has a baby bump, it is important to make the child feel like a part of the pregnancy. Dr Rachna Khanna Singh, HOD-Holistic Medicine & Psychology, Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon, while speaking to Express Parenting, suggested some ways in which parents can prepare the firstborn for welcoming his or her sibling. “Parents can show the child some ultrasound photos, make him or her feel the baby’s kick or show some pictures and videos on babies, and keep sharing how the baby is gradually growing in the womb,” she said.
Let the firstborn pick and choose things for the sibling
When parents are shopping for the new baby, they should allow their elder child to select the required items, including clothes and toys, among other things, suggested Dr Singh. This will help the elder child feel connected to the newborn.
Another crucial part of preparing the firstborn for a younger sister or brother is by letting him or her take ownership of the baby. “The firstborn needs to be encouraged to interact with the baby and thereby take ownership. For instance, encourage the elder child to make cards or decorate the room for the baby,” advised Dr Singh. Some parents are wary of letting their elder child touch the newborn for safety reasons. Dr Singh, however, suggests that physical touch is very important to instill a sense of bonding. “Tell the elder child to watch the baby; allow him or her to hold the newborn, under the supervision of adults,” she added.
Don’t let the firstborn feel neglected
While allowing the elder child to pick items for the sibling, parents should also ensure they do not end up neglecting the needs of their firstborn. “When parents are buying toys for the newborn, they should simultaneously buy it for the elder child too. Besides, they should also be encouraged to share toys,” said Dr Singh.
The arrival of the newborn would mean friends and relatives coming home to greet the baby. When the entire attention is centred around the newborn, there’s a chance the elder child may feel jealous or at least unhappy. So, what does one do in such situations? “Parents can’t often ask friends and relatives to bring a token for the firstborn. In that case, they can keep chocolates or other items reserved for the firstborn and gift it to them on behalf of the guests,” suggested Dr Singh.
Sharing time and space between children
With the arrival of a new member in the family, the firstborn often needs to undergo some physical adjustments like sharing the bed or the parents’ attention with the baby. To help the elder child make the transition, parents need to explain to them their demarcated time and space. This, however, needs to be done gradually. Dr Singh explained, “The newborn is only required to be kept well fed and cleaned properly, which can also be done with the help of a caretaker or other family members. A firstborn, however, has his or her own needs which have to be taken care of. The mantra is to give your firstborn a little extra time.”
Solo time for the firstborn
With the birth of the sibling, the firstborn, obviously, can no longer enjoy undivided attention from parents. At the same time, making your children stick together constantly can make the firstborn feel compromised, advised Dr Singh. “Interaction with the firstborn shouldn’t just be limited to helping them with their homework. Parents need to spend some solo time with their elder child and also engage in some interactive playtime,” she added.
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