Is your child finding it difficult to cope with a new sibling? Read on.
We’re having trouble getting our two-year-old used to the idea of having a new baby sister. He cries for me all the time and lately, he’s been throwing tantrums when he wants our attention. How can we help him feel loved and secure?
Your son is having to adjust to a lot of changes now which is why he is having such a hard time coping. At such a tender age himself, it is hard for him to even understand what he is feeling and how to cope with those feelings.
Here are some suggestions on how to make this transition easier for everyone involved.
Name it and acknowledge it: Talk to your son and ask him how he feels. At such a tender age, he will unlikely be able to express himself well, but parents can help by giving labels to the emotions he may be feeling. For example, "I think you got upset because you were frustrated we weren’t listening to you. It is okay to be angry. Let’s see what we can do together.” Having their feelings acknowledged will have a huge impact as he now knows that he is being understood and that his feelings are important too.
Script it: Young children often do not have the language capacity to express themselves well. So, in addition to giving labels, parents can support by providing scripts of what he could say. For example, “when you are angry, you can say, Mummy, Daddy, I am angry!” When kids have the words, they can use to express their emotions, they are less likely to demonstrate those strong emotions behaviourally.
Books and videos: Children can benefit from reading books or watching short videos about having a little baby brother or a sister. This will help your son relate to the changes of having a new sibling and create a better understanding of the changes going on around him.
Set a routine: Develop a clear routine (e.g., wake up time, shower, breakfast, playtime etc.) so that his upside-down world can be a bit more predictable. Being aware of what is happening and when various events are occurring will help create some stability that will help ease some of the insecurities he is likely to be experiencing.
Getting involved: Use words like “I need your help to…” and encourage your son to be an active part of the caregiving. Nappy change, bath time, helping to calm his sister when she cries, can all be used to help him feel like a helpful part of this new addition while still being able to spend time with mum and dad.
Special time: Set aside some special one on one time for him. This will help show him that he is still very much loved and that he will always get attention from mummy and daddy no matter how busy they may be with his little sister.
Question answered by:
Dr Penny Tok
Developmental and Educational
Dr Penny Tok Psychology Practice