Adjusting siblings to news of a new baby
DEVON, Pa. September 27, 2010 (WPVI) -- Just after Christmas time, 2-year-old Audrina will become a big sister. Her mom, Kim Leone has tried to prepare Audrina for the new family addition but is not quite sure the message has gotten across."She tends to change the subject because I don't think she understands it fully."
Which psychotherapist Nancy DePaul says is to be expected from a toddler.
"When a child is less than 4 years of age, when you give them information that they are going to have a change in their role like they are going to have a new sibling it's difficult for them to have a cognitive understanding of that."
DePaul does not treat Kim or Audrina but offers this generalize advice. Introduce the idea of a new baby slowly and keep it general. Talk to the child about the new addition to the family but try to avoid a lot of details that may confuse the toddler.
"If you get too intense and too excited your child may be overwhelmed by it you want to introduce the idea in small increments. We have some exciting news for you someone else is going to be joining our family," said DePaul.
DePaul says try to by books or videos that explain what it means to be a big sibling.
A few months ago Kim bought Audrina her own baby doll to encourage roll play with a baby.
"She probably started to show interest in her baby dolls probably late summer so I just have been going with that idea that she likes to take care of her babies and I bought little bottles to give to her babies," Kim said.
DePaul says this will reassure Audrina that she will play a role in the care and love of the new baby and use the doll to help establish boundaries and proper behavior around the newborn.
"Identify with them that they need to touch the baby softly they need to talk to the baby gently and leave room for those emotions."
DePaul also suggests limiting other change around the time of the baby's arrival it's just too unsettling for the toddler. And remember after the baby comes; keep one of the toddler's favorite activities like going to the park, just between the parent and toddler.
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