Parenting

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How To Help Your Child Bond with the New Baby

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@raising_the_wild

In about a month, we’re bringing home a new baby. I’m thrilled to have another child and can’t wait to see my kids interact with him. But I know from past experience that adding a new baby to the family is a big change and requires a lot of patience and empathy. Oftentimes, older kids show frustration, sadness, or belligerence during the transition. Here are a few tips to help your child(ren) bond with your new baby.

Enlist The Child As A ‘Helper’

Kids love to help and the best way you can help your child to bond with a new baby is by helping out. Ask them to grab a diaper and wipes, lay out a blanket, hold the baby’s hand, or read a book to the baby. Sharing age-appropriate responsibility is a wonderful gift for you and all your kids.

Include Your Child

Make the new baby the family’s grand adventure, not just yours. Refer to you and your older child as ‘we’ and talk about how ‘we love the baby, but sometimes it hurts our ears when he cries’. Or how ‘we can’t believe how little the baby’s hands are!’ or how ‘we can’t wait for him to start smiling’. Ask your children what they think of the baby, what he/she looks like or smells like, and what they like.

Point out Special Interactions

When the baby is so little, they’re not going to interact much with an older sibling. But they are familiar with their voices since they’ve been hearing it for months in the womb! Point out when the baby tracks your child’s voice, or when your child soothes them with a pat or kiss.

Gift from Baby

A few weeks before Baby is due, wrap a present to give to older siblings while you’re in the hospital and say it’s from the baby. I love getting new, cozy pajamas and a small toy from the dollar section at Target. This makes the Baby seem a little bit magic and gives kids a welcome distraction from the newcomer getting all the attention.

Let Others Help

Let grandparents spoil your older kids and friends take them on playdates. The more love they feel during this big transition, the better.

Don’t be afraid to let your older kids know that this is a big change and that it’s going to take a team effort to take care of the baby and help mom. Partners and loved ones should carry the emotional and physical burdens of home and other kids to let mom and baby recover.

Cuddles and Eye Contact

You’ll probably be so busy and tired, but it’s important to take time to hug, kiss, and listen to your older children every day. Listening to a story about PJ Masks with some strong eye contact can go a long way to helping a child feel included and listened to.

Bonding takes time so don’t feel defeated if your toddler ignores the baby. That’s totally normal. Once the baby starts interacting a little more, older kids usually get more interested.

I’d love to hear what you did to help your child bond with your new baby. How did it go? Share your tips in the comments below or comment on Instagram @munchkininc.

Koseli Cummings

Koseli is a copywriter based in the Bay Area whose clients include Airbnb, Penguin, Red Tricycle, and Design Mom. When she's not writing or podcasting, you can bet she's at a Berkeley park with her four boys.