Make Room For Baby

When one mother brought home a new baby boy, the former youngest took one look ... and bit her mother in the knee out of resentment.

Many children feel threatened when a new baby arrives and becomes the center of attention. While this reaction is normal, here are some tips to minimize bites and bitterness.

  • Start preparing your child during the pregnancy. Teach your child how to hold a baby doll with care. Use phrases like "be gentle with the baby" so when the real baby arrives, your child will understand how to behave. Three- and 4-year-olds have difficulty understanding time, so it is better to associate the baby's arrival with a season rather than a month.
  • Make the baby's arrival a positive memory. When the baby is born, allow your child to visit the hospital. Greet your child without the baby in your arms. This way you can hug her and let her know how much you missed her. After this time together, let her see the new baby. A special gift from the new baby may help older children appreciate the newest addition.
  • Understand that your child will have mixed emotions. Some toddlers regress when a new baby enters the home. Bedwetting, whining and begging for a bottle are a common plea for parental attention. Remind your child of all the things he can do that the baby cannot and all he can teach the new baby.
  • Emphasize the older child's important role . Let your child know how special she is because she can be a helper. To provide a sense of importance and the pride of accomplishment, let your child be involved in caring for the baby. For example, allow your child to choose the baby's outfit.
  • Affirm your older child. When others compliment your new baby, they often ignore the older child. Praise your older child in front of others. Encourage family members and friends not to forget to make the older sibling feel special, too.

For some children, this transition can be difficult with plenty of tears and tantrums. But with a little sensitivity and effort, an irreplaceable friendship can be formed between the new siblings.

Background Information

Journey of No Return
Sometimes as parents, we have a knee-jerk response to our kids as we're barraged by their numerous inquires and desires. Maybe it's time to stop being so negative.

When Not To Discipline
Parents should recognize when they should and shouldn't discipline their children.

When You Feel Like Calling in the SWAT Team
Are your children constantly testing you? This classic parenting advice will help you regain the upper hand.

Questions and Answers

After I spank my child, she usually wants to hug me and make up, but I continue to be cool to her for a few hours. Do you think that is right?

We'd like to be more unified in our approach, but how do we successfully move from two financial approaches to one?

How long do you think a child should be allowed to cry after being punished? Is there a limit?

I have never spanked my 3-year-old because I am afraid it will teach her to hit others and be a violent person. Do you think I am wrong?

It just seems barbaric to cause pain to a defenseless child. Is it healthy to spank him or her?

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Other Things to Consider

Ten Things Toddlers Wish They Could Tell You
It can do wonders for the frazzled parent to know what's going on in the mind of your little one.

TransitionsHaving a Baby, Preparing for Adolescence

Life PressuresWorking Moms, Stay-At-Home Moms, Time for Family

RelationshipsParents and Adult Children, Blended Families