Your older child was so excited about the new baby. But, now that your baby has arrived, he is uncooperative and sometimes acts like a baby, himself. Meanwhile, you’re trying to control your youngest as she starts to throw tantrums and learns the word “no.”
This scenario is all too common, but there are simple tools you can use to increase your children’s compliance and decrease your stress.
- Tell your older child what to expect.
If you just became pregnant, be sure your child is one of the first to know. As your pregnancy continues, tell your child what is going to change when the baby is born. Be clear that a new baby can’t do very much and is going to need a lot of help. Ask your child what he or she thinks about these changes.
While talking about what a new baby needs, it can also be helpful to tell stories about when your older child was born. Tell him how much you loved him as soon as you saw him. Tell her how excited other people were to meet her and hold her.
- Give 20 minutes of attention each day.
Kids often act up when they are seeking attention. To prevent this, give them the attention they crave before they are desperate for it. Spend 20 minutes of one-on-one time with your older child every day – or as often as you can. Play games he likes. Hug her. Listen to everything he has to say. Be present and enjoy that time, without getting distracted by technology. It can be a challenge to find the time and energy to do this while your youngest toddler needs so much from you; but it will make all the difference in the end.
- Involve everyone in baby’s care.
Give your older child some fun responsibilities. Let her pick out baby’s outfits, push the stroller, hold the bottle, or tell stories. Don’t force your older child to take on too many responsibilities, though. Simply offer opportunities and don’t forget to thank him every time he is helpful.
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