If you’re a parent to multiple children, you know how stressful the transition from one to two can be—both on the parent(s) and firstborn. Your kiddo might seem excited about being an older sibling, but in reality there’s no way they can comprehend the massive life change that’s about to happen. Their world will never be the same after the new baby comes home, and your attention will no longer be focused on just them. There’s bound to be some negative feelings when they realize that little baby is here to stay, but there are ways to help promote a healthy relationship between your children, even when you first bring home your newborn.
The “Toddler Experts” Instagram account Big Little Feelings shared a “life-changing tip” that can help prevent sibling rivalry and jealousy: Don’t blame the baby!
“Bringing home a new baby is a BIG transition for your toddler!” reads the reel’s caption. “Your toddler has had a larger share of your love + attention up to this point. So OF COURSE it’s hard having a brand new sibling move into THEIR house and take away the attention of THEIR parent. And? This sibling is LOUD, needy, and not super fun yet.”
“If you blame the baby for taking away your time + attention, your toddler will naturally start to resent the baby. (Who wouldn’t in that scenario?!)” they continued. “We want our toddler to feel loved, seen, and secure. But more importantly, we don’t want them to feel the baby is more important than they are.”
In the reel they give examples of what this looks like: Instead of saying “No, I can’t play with you right now. I’m feeding the baby,” you can say, “Yes! I would love to play with you. I need six minutes, and then I will play with you.”
In fact, you can still say “no,” but don’t blame the baby! Here’s another example: Instead of saying “No, we are not going to the playground right now. Your sister is too fussy,” you can say, “We can’t go to the park right now, but we CAN go to the park after nap time today. Okay?”
When speaking to children, the simplest reframe can make all the difference. It’s all about what we say and how we say it to ensure our firstborn still feels seen, heard and most importantly, loved.