Sibling rivalry… Already?

How to prepare your child for the arrival a new sibling

Written by Judy McKay

For many children the birth of a sibling can be met with mixed emotions and is a time marked by many changes. Preparing your child at a developmentally appropriate level can help to alleviate feelings of anxiety and assist in helping your child adapt to some of the new changes.

Suggested children’s books you can read together:

  • The Most Terrible of All – Moun Thi Van  (Explores sibling rivalry through the concept of monsters).
  • Mia Moves Out – Miranda Paul (Explores the concept of having to share with a new sibling). 
  • Hello in There – Jo Witek (A story of a sister who can’t wait to meet their new sibling).

Activities to do as a family:

  • Mark in the calendar important pregnancy milestones
  • Look at baby photos as a family
  • Work on an art project for the new baby’s room or a gift for their arrival
  • Involve your children in creating a list of possible baby names
  • Go shopping as a family for baby toys or clothes – have your children pick out something special for the baby.

Raising Children Network Articles: 

New baby: helping toddlers & preschoolers | Raising Children Network

New baby: helping children & teens adjust | Raising Children Network

Take Home Message

  1. Adjusting to the new dynamic may take time. Where possible, maintain a sense of routine and predictability during the transition period.
  2. It’s important to validate their feelings in response to their sibling.
  3. Prepare your child for you needing to focus on the new baby initially but reassure you are still there for them. 
  4. Involve your child in the process and decision making where possible and appropriate. 

Judy is a registered psychologist with a Master’s degree in Educational and Developmental Psychology. She has experience working with young people, their families and extended support networks across educational, clinical and community-based settings. Judy enjoys working creatively and flexibly with children and adolescents to explore their difficult emotions and experiences.

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