What to do?
New siblings are a huge change for our preschoolers which cannot be underestimated. If you've seen a big shift in your child's behaviour and you're wondering if it has anything to do with the new baby or a new pregnancy - IT HAS. Even if your child seems to love their sibling.
EVERYTHING changes when there's a change in the family. Adults act differently, routine changes and preschoolers don't get the attention they're used to. They don't know what it means to be a big brother or a big sister and why is everyone suddenly expecting them to be more grown up?? That change of title and responsibility can be insurmountable to them.
Even when you THINK they're over the hump, your little one can change again as the baby develops. Every new stage brings a new change which your preschooler has to adapt to.
When we as parents understand and truly accept that these changes in our preschooler's behaviour are TYPICAL and VALID considering the circumstances, we're more likely to respond kindly.
They're not acting out on purpose to make our lives difficult, they're crying out for help and connection when their life feels topsy turvy and unpredictable.
The BEST way we can help is to be predictably kind. Predictably understanding. Predictably gentle.
When they see and feel that we love them unconditionally despite all the change in their world, that's when they'll feel more safe to be themselves and not act out.
- Look for lots of opportunities to praise them, connect with them and show that you love them throughout the day
- Increase how often you talk through your plans or what to expect in the day. Learning stories are great.
- Expect them to act up. They're still babies themselves and their brains are still very underdeveloped.
- Genuinely acknowledge their feelings. They're valid. "Sometimes it's really hard to have a baby brother. I get it. You're sick of your brother today. Let's have some special time together next".
- have zero expectations around their relationship. Your preschooler isn't broken if they don't adore their sibling. It'll come in time. Don't force it.
You've got this :)
Questions? Ask in the comments.
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