How to deal with sibling rivalry

It can be a huge upheaval for a child to welcome a new baby into their world; until now, they have probably been the centre of attention and have received all your love and affection. It is natural for everyone to get excited about a new baby and relatives and friends will often flock to see the baby; try to remind them to pay your child plenty of attention and reassure them by telling them you love them lots. Here are some tips for helping your child to adapt to having a new baby brother or sister:

  • Talk to them about the new baby when you are pregnant; encourage them to touch your bump and talk to them about having a new baby brother or sister.
  • Get them excited about having a new baby; tell them they are getting a new friend to play with.
  • Involve your child in your baby’s care; encourage them to hold your baby (under your supervision), cuddle them and touch them.
  • Keep your child’s routine the same (as far as is possible)
  • Pay your child plenty of attention and reassure them that you love them
  • Be prepared for the fact that your child may not take to the baby at first; in time, they will grow to love them but initially they may be very resentful and jealous.
  • Try to spend time alone with your child
  • Be patient if it seems like your child is acting like a baby; this is a very natural reaction to having a new baby in the family
  • Encourage time together as a family

Where can I get help if I’m not coping?

If you’re struggling to cope, talk to somebody about it. You can arrange to see your GP, talk to your health visitor or contact your local family services; if you don’t want to talk to somebody face to face, you can contact charities, who can offer you support and advice, including Parentline, the Samaritans and Relate for parents.

Caring for your child:

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