The birth of a child is an occasion of excitement and joy—but for the newborn's sibling, it can instead be a time of jealousy and confusion. I remember the day after I brought my son Brooks home from the hospital. He was all wrapped up in the bassinette next to our bed and lost in that deep sleep of which only newborns seem truly capable.
My daughter Kyle, just 18 months old at the time, flung herself on the floor in unmitigated toddler grief. "Oh no!" she cried, wailing and wreathing. "Take baby back! Oh noooo!" It was worse than I thought. Kyle clearly wanted me to return Brooks (perhaps to Toys R Us where she could get something in exchange).
Thankfully I was prepared and out of our bathroom rolled an oversize blue plastic wagon for Kyle to sit in and motor with her small, socked feet. "This," I declared, "is the present that Brooks got just for you as his new big sister." Kyle looked doubtfully up from the floor at Brooks' curled sleeping form, back at the beckoning wagon, and with eyebrows furrowed in wary resignation and lingering concern, opted to accept the gift. Sibling crisis averted!
To best acclimate your young child to a little sister or brother, begin long before your baby is born. Strive to be understanding and patient as your eldest adapts to this big change in his or her small world. Try the following tips to ensure a smooth transition for your whole family.