My daughter will soon be turning six years old. I am 23 weeks pregnant with her new baby brother, and she is very, very excited about this. However, I have noticed that since my husband and I told her about the baby, she has been acting out more. When she does not get her way she screams and throws a huge tantrum.
I am at my wits' end because she is constantly acting this way. Please help with any ideas you'd like to suggest. Thank you.
Your daughter may be genuinely excited about a new sibling, but that's probably not all that she is feeling, and she may be acting out those more negative emotions.
Think for a minute about what this will do to the life she has now. She will no longer have her parents all to herself. She'll never be the youngest again. There will a demanding newborn on the scene whom she won't be able to play with for months. Jealousy and trepidation are normal emotions for her, as well as excitement.
First, extinguish the acting out just as you would if she were two: let her know that her bahavior isn't acceptable and ignore the tantrums as much as possible. Then, since she is almost six and more verbal than a two-year-old would be, begin to talk regularly about what she may be feeling. If she can't verbalize her emotions, a quick internet search will yield many good story books about children dealing with new siblings. Emphasize what she will be gaining: newfound status as the competent, older child and a helper that you will be relying on.
Last, begin a tradition now that you can plan to continue once the baby is born, of designating some special time just with her. A few times a week, give her 30 to 60 minutes of unstructured time. Your husband may want to do this as well, and he needs to agree to take the baby to give you uninterrupted time. She will look forward to this, and it may help smooth over the big adjustment that she is facing.