The arrival of a set of newborn babies is one of the most exciting things you can experience as a parent. However, for older siblings it can be a stressful time with plenty of questions and doubts.
In the months leading up to big sister or brotherhood, talk seems to swirl around these new babies that will join the family. This can lead older siblings to feel insecure and left out.
These are some tips for helping older siblings feeling included.
#1: Ask for their help
While this might seem somewhat obvious, it’s surprising how often parents of newborns overlook their older children as potential helpers. Even when they are 2 or 3, older siblings can be immensely helpful if you assign them the right kinds of jobs.
Younger kids can help with handing you things, carrying things and keeping you company. Older kids can provide some basic care. Pay attention to what they like to do and do well and ask them to repeat that.
You might be surprised how capable they really are. And remember, holding a bottle or offering baby a pacifier are easy jobs!
#2: Give them their own baby to care for
Many parents find that offering their older children a stuffed animal or doll to care for really can help keep them from feeling left out. As you care for the twins, your older child can care for their own baby. As you feed, they feed. Even allow them to have their own bottle and a couple of newborn diapers to join in.
#3: One-on-One Time
Another great way to make older children feel included is to carve out a little bit of time each day to spend alone with your older child or children. While this can be difficult at times with the rigor of newborn twins schedule, it is so important.
Even just 10 minutes of reading them stories alone before bed will make them feel important. It may feel like there isn’t enough of you to go around, but a few minutes will go a long way.
#4: Big Sibling Swag
Sometimes making an older sibling feel special is as simple as adorning them with some big brother or big sister swag. Having a special hat or t-shirt made can go a long way. As people arrive with gifts for baby, your older child(ren) will have their own special gifts to enjoy.
#5: Maintain Your Routine
One final important step you can take to ensure your older kids feeling included is to do your best to maintain your pre-twin routine. This is obviously going to be a challenge on many levels. However, when older siblings are able to keep some semblance of their “normal” they will feel valuable.
Some developmental experts note that infants are completely unaware of whether their needs are met first, while older children are very aware of what order needs are met. This might mean that letting babies cry one minute longer to get a snack for your older child will help them feel secure and important.
The early days with newborn twins are tough. When you have other children it can be even tougher. These are just a few of the ways you can help your older children feel included as you transition to a new version of your family.
By taking the time to ensure your oldest’s needs, you will help them make the transition successfully.