Getting used to new family dynamics is hard, and if you are already used to a certain kind of routine (and undivided attention), you’d want it to stay that way.
Tantrums, meltdowns, feelings of jealousy and resentment will all rear their ugly heads at some point after a new baby comes along. And it doesn’t matter if your children are only one year apart or five years apart.
Parents have plenty of ways to ease the transition for the older siblings after baby arrives. One easy ― and very effective ― tip is to get the older kids involved with their new sibling’s life as soon as possible. This means giving them little responsibilities that will help take care of bubba.
Not only will it instil a sense of responsibility in the young ones, but getting involved with the baby will also help a big brother or sister feel valued. Over time, it will strengthen the love and bond between the siblings ― a connection they will have for the rest of their lives.
Here are six babycare areas to involve your tyke in, starting today…
Not only will it instil a sense of responsibility in the young ones, but getting involved with the baby will also help a big brother or sister feel valued.
Scenario #1: Feeding time
Older siblings can hold bubba’s bottle when he’s drinking milk and spoon purées or pass out finger food when he’s on solids. By the way, don’t forget to enlist your trusty little helper to clean up the mess baby leaves behind after a meal. Young ones get unbelievably excited whenever get a chance to wash dishes. To minimise accidents, just make sure someone is supervising them and the dishes are made from plastic.
Scenario #2: Diaper changes
Your older kiddo is probably well on the way in his toilet-training journey by now. But since he still remembers the ins and outs of all things diaper-related, he will be more than happy to be your diaper-changing aide. A simple way to start is to get him to stand next to you at the changing table, so that he can hand you the wet wipes, diaper rash cream and a fresh diaper when you need them. “My toddler was even willing to go the extra mile and open the bin for me to throw away the dirty diaper and when we were out, he would hold the trash bag for me,” remembers mum-of-two Suganthi Subramaniam.
Scenario #3: When you’re out and about
It can surely be nerve-racking to juggle a baby and a toddler when you’re out in public ― imagine if both had a meltdown at the same time! Still, there will be times when you’ll have to head out with the brood. If so, enlist the older kids’ help with small tasks to ease the way for everyone, especially you. Junior can push the baby stroller, with you at the helm of course, and retrieve items that you need from the diaper bag. Who knows, your tot may even have a trick or two up his sleeve as he helps you distract a fussy baby who will not stop wailing.
Scenario #4: Bath time
Before your baby and toddler get into the bathtub to create some bubbles galore, let junior help you with some prep work first. Your peewee should be able to help you unfasten bub’s diaper, and while showering, can even try to lather his little sister up with some soap. If he’s undecided, tell him that’s where bubbles come from and he will be on it! Post bath, after everyone has dried off and diapered, the older sibling can also help to dress baby in her PJs.
Play time is one of the best ways to keep both your baby and tot engaged, stimulated and busy at the same time.
Scenario #5: Play time
Playtime is one of the best ways to keep both your baby and tot engaged, stimulated and busy at the same time. Junior can “read” his little sister or brother a board book or shake a rattle to get their attention. Blowing bubbles is another great low-maintenance activity that kids of all ages will love to do together. Plus, it’s a superb way to hone your tot’s motor skills as he sticks the wand in and out of the bottle, while holding it to blow. When playtime is over, ask your older child to help you clean up, because it’s a good way to instil a sense of responsibility and set a great example for the baby.
Scenario #6: Bedtime and naptime
As you get ready to slow things down at the end of the day, your older kids can assist with various turn-down activities. These include switching on the baby monitor, swaddling bub or zipping him up in his sleep sack and snuggling up together to read a book or two. Oh, and don’t forget the goodnight hugs and kisses. Nothing melts your heart like seeing your children displaying love and affection for each other. It makes everything, even the hard days, worthwhile!
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