“For Parents of Little Ones,” Friend, November 2016
Looking forward to becoming an older brother or sister can be exciting. And then baby arrives and isn’t all that playful. Envy kicks in, and before you know it, big sister asks how long baby sister is staying!
The gift and challenge of siblings is one way Heavenly Father helps young children grow. You might expect some meltdowns as your oldest deals with mixed feelings. But a few nudges from you can help them rise to their new role.
Quell jealousy. Sometimes the older child has to wait while you feed or change the baby. Remember to turn it around sometimes too: “Baby, you’re going to have to wait on your blanket for a minute while I help your brother.” Baby won’t understand, but brother will.
Recruit an ally. Give your older child jobs, like policing the family’s noise level during naptime or fetching bath-time supplies. If sister has responsibilities, she’ll feel important instead of stifled by all the changes.
Practice, practice, practice! Ask brother to practice teaching his teddy bears to eat with a spoon, give gentle hugs, smell flowers, or read board books. Then he’ll be ready to teach when baby is ready to learn. Help him now to see his valued place as a mentor.
Provide an example. Display a picture of Jesus in your home and explain that He is our Elder Brother. He can teach us everything we need to know about loving our family.