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building a sibling bond

Why you should work at building a sibling bond between your children?

How exactly do you go about it?

These steps have helped my older children accept their new sibling.  In fact they are all very close.  Please don't get me wrong, we aren't the Waltons... as they get older they do bicker, and squabble.  But as the saying goes, when push comes to shove, they stand together strong and will look out for each other.

Here I will go through the steps I took to make sure that each of my child accepted our latest baby.

What are you doing? I wanted to cuddle the baby Mummy!

creating the sibling bond

In the long term having your older children accept the latest addition to your family, will make your life easier.

For us, this started as soon as we wanted to announce the pregnancy.

In fact the first people we told were the siblings.

Our reasoning was quite simple, "it's never to early" to start the sibling bond. After all, do you really want them to over hear the news as you tell your friends or family? How would you feel if you found out like that?

These steps will help with start the sibling bond between your children...

  • Talk direct to your older children, and tell them the news
  • Allow them to ask questions, and answer truthfully.
  • Let them break the news to their teachers, or friends. It's big news for them too!
  • Follow your pregnancy journey with your older children, make use of online tools and videos that explain how the baby is growing.
  • As your bump gets bigger, encourage interactions with it, like saying "goodnight"
  • If you have to take your older children to your antenatal appointments, then tell them what is going on.

We have found that all of these steps interested the older ones in what was going on. At no point (even in anger), have they shown any animosity to the baby.

preparing a sibling for baby

New sibling accepted.New sibling relationship

There are three main points that I found helped preparing our older children for the arrival of the baby. These are...

  • Finding out the sex of the baby
  • Involvement in the decisions
  • Getting ready for baby's arrival

Finding out the sex of the baby, has meant that the "bump" is a 'person' to the child. It allowed us to talk to the children about baby names, feelings, as well as the physical getting ready for the arrival.

We involved the children in the decisions that were to be made. This included...

  • Choosing the Name
  • Looking at the Pram's
  • Going through the clothing

This activity encourages acceptance of the unborn child. It allows your children time to create the elbow room that they have to share the other main things in their lives, such Mom & Dad, Toys, and possibly a bedroom.

Asking the child (yes even a toddler), what they would like to do for baby. Even getting them to sort out their toys that they think would be acceptable for the baby.

You need to re-affirm to them that they still have a place in your life. You never want them to think that they have been "replaced".

sibling relationship

New siblingsNew siblings

"Please can I carry her, Mum", this was the first question from Elizabeth.

Gulp! I didn't want to crush Elizabeth and build a resentment, but you also have to balance your new baby's care.

"When you sit on the settee", was my reply.  It seemed safer.

A few days later came the request to feed her. I consented, and pictured here is the first feed from Elizabeth.

The build up to the arrival of our youngest child was quite traumatic.

I did not have the best of pregnancy's. This has meant that I had to go to hospital early.

Under the care of the specialist it was agreed that we would deliver, Victoria, early by caesarian section.  She would just have turned 37 weeks.

Fortunately, Victoria arrived safely on April 23, 2013. However, it was some 2/3 days later that we were able to introduce Elizabeth, our eldest to her little sister, Victoria.

Both my son and daughter melted at the sight of their tiny sister. Watching their initial reaction to the small, helpless child, my mind was put instantly to rest.

They had accepted her and it wasn't long before it was clear to see that they doted on her.  

As a parent it's important that you help the children build their relationship.

The easiest thing in the world for me to advise is Do not favor one over the other - but this is no picnic to execute.  In fact I would say it is a lot easier said than it is to do.  So how to do you not fall into that trap, while trying to get sleep, school runs, homework projects, dinner, and the housework done?

My tips for helping your children build their relationship are as follows...

  • Keep the rules the same for each child.
  • Even in the busiest of schedules, make some one to one time for each child.  
  • Encourage involvement of older children with their younger siblings
  • Make sure you spend time as a family - this one is likely the hardest to achieve on a schedule, but the most rewarding for all concerned. 

Remember that family's and their members are unique.

Keeping things simple will make life easier for all concerned. This should ensure that happiness prevails in your household.

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