If you already have a toddler or young child, they may feel a little left out when your new baby comes along if all they have known is your undivided attention until this point. This is why it’s important to involve them in every way you can so they know they are just as important now as they were before. Most children are curious and therefore eager to join in where they can- but not everything is safe or appropriate for them to do so. With this is mind, here are just a few activities you can include them in to help them ease into new family life. 

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Involve them in nappy changing: While they may be too young to do it all themselves, if you have a box or caddy with all of the nappies, wipes and cream in, ask your little one to hand you what you need. They will feel like they have done a good deed and you can praise them accordingly to give them a little boost.

Involve them in bathtime: If you have a bath and neither child has skin issues- make this something they can do together before bedtime. You can encourage the older child to put a little water on the baby to help wash them or even ask them to give them toys when they are old enough to sit up and play in the water with them. Bath seats are an ideal solution to ensure they are facing one another. This will soon become a part of the day they will both look forward to because it’s guaranteed fun. 

Involve them in bedtime: If reading is important to you as a family- encourage your older child to sit in the room while you read to your baby so they can enjoy the material too. Chances are, it will be too young for them, but it will reinforce to them that they are a big sister or brother now and need to teach their new sibling all of the things they already know. 

Involve them in play: Even if toys aren’t age appropriate, you can guarantee- if something doesn’t belong to them they will want to inspect it and play with it all the same- so ask them to show your baby how something works or get them to bring things for the baby from their toy box so they feel like they’ve helped mummy or daddy. Remember to thank them enthusiastically and they will likely do it again. 

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Involve them in walks: Buggy Boards that attach to your pram are a great way to stop your older child feeling left out because they can be pushed along with their sibling, meaning they can interact with them if they aren’t sleeping. Ask them to keep an eye on their sister or brother to make sure they are safe and happy as you stroll and they will embrace this important task.  

Involve them in entertaining your baby: Babies find older siblings hugely entertaining. They recognise that they are more like them than the adults who look after them and find their antics hilarious. If your baby is getting fussy, ask your toddler or young child to do something silly- dance, sing or pull a face and chances are it will distract them and make them smile or laugh. 

Involve them in watching TV: There are many shows on TV suitable for babies, so if you put on a show that will spark their interest and cuddle them into you while you watch, let your older child snuggle next to you and put your arm around them so they feel just as loved and wanted. 

It’s easy to devote all your time and attention to a newborn as they require so much of it but be mindful of how their sibling might interpret this behaviour. They may struggle to understand that this imbalance is not deliberate. While it’s a positive move to involve your older child with your new addition, it’s vital that they still get some one on one time with you too. Babies are all consuming, but you need to carve out some alone time with your older child and your partner in the form of reading together, cuddling up on the couch or playing while the baby naps. Just as parents need time as a couple away from their children, older children need time away from their siblings to enjoy being the centre of attention again.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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