It can be tough on a toddler when a new baby is welcomed into the family. Not only do they stop getting all the attention from their parents, they’re also no longer the centre of attention when visitors come over.
One person on Reddit noted this divide and shared a tip of what to do if you are visiting a newborn who has an older brother or sister. “Bring a gift for the older child instead of (or [in] addition) to the new baby,” they wrote.
The older child often feels jealous of all the attention the new sibling is “taking” from them, so this will make you their hero, the Redditor added. The post garnered hundreds of comments from other people who praised the idea and also shared their own tips on what to do in this situation.
While some argued that giving the older child presents could mean they might expect a gift every time they feel jealous, others added that something small - whether that be a little teddy, a chocolate bar, or a book - would be welcomed and is no big deal.
One person explained how their mum creates what she calls a “big sibling kit”, which sounds like a great idea to distract toddlers from their feelings of jealousy. “She has a collection of inexpensive sticker books, colouring books and crayons and makes these big sibling kits to give to older siblings when there’s a new baby at church,” they wrote. “She has a whole speech when she gives it to them about how mummy and daddy may be a little too busy to play as much, but since they’re a ‘big sibling’ now they totally can handle this with the super special kit full of fun activities for big kids only.”
It made me feel like someone was paying attention to me while everything in my life was suddenly changing." Reddit user
As well as gifts, another commenter said simply giving the older child attention will be greatly received. She was three when her sister was born and said she still remembers that one of her parents’ friends brought her a new book and read it to her while everyone was crowding around the baby. “I don’t think it made me spoiled, it just made me feel like someone was paying attention to me while everything in my life was suddenly changing.”
And another suggested taking the older sibling out altogether. “If you are close to the family and want to help out, consider offering to take the older child out for a day,” they wrote. “It will make it easier for the parents and give the older kid a reminder that s/he is still important.”
What tips do you have to help a newly-older sibling feel loved? Let us know in the comments below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.