If you’ve ever been pregnant, you know your baby bump seems to be a magnet for commentary from complete strangers. But when you have your second child, people don’t mess with you. It might just be because you give off the air of confidence you lacked with your first.
It’s true, there is something magical and special about your first child, but once you have your second, you realize that all babies are magical and special. The difference is that the second time around, you can actually enjoy it! You won’t be able to solely devote your time to your new arrival, but you will have the wisdom and hard-won perspective to laugh at the hard days and cherish the easy ones.
With your second baby, you are so much more relaxed. You didn’t kill the first one, and you have a pretty decent grasp on what to expect. After witnessing your first child grow and thrive because of (and in spite of) you, it is easier to enjoy each stage of babyhood without worrying over every little thing.
While your second child’s firsts aren’t necessarily new for you, they are still exciting because now you know what they mean and what more is to come. The second time around, you have a historical database from your first baby that allows you to greet each milestone with confidence and ease, enabling you to savor each first even more.
We bring so much more knowledge and experience into parenthood the second time around — a new arrival allows us to put all that we have learned into practice and helps us to tame our fears by replacing them with new discoveries…unexpected learning about ourselves, and our older children, and surprising realizations about how competent and capable we really are.
Having a second child is often much easier than the first – no fears of the unknown or doubts about how to take care of your baby. But along with this confidence comes a new set of challenges.
Reactions Of Your First Baby To The New One
Involving your child in caring for the new baby encourages your toddler to see themselves as a big brother or sister. Second-time parents can’t devote all their time and energy to the most recent addition to the family. While they’re still tired after the birth, trying to cope with the housework, missing sleep and settling their new baby into a routine, there is another small child desperate for their attention. If you can keep your toddler happy, the rest is likely to fall into place. That’s why it’s important to understand your firstborn’s reactions to your new baby.
A little brother or sister can appear very threatening to a toddler. From their perspective, their parents used to have the time to help, comfort or play and they would come at the first cry. Now, all their attention seems focused on that noisy little baby, and they are expected to be ‘big’. It is normal for toddlers to blame the ‘intruder’ for this change in their routine.
For parents, the new baby’s needs are obvious, and it might seem reasonable to expect the eldest child to wait. But toddlers won’t, so you must be resourceful and versatile.
Ways To Involve Your First Child
- Encourage your toddler to socialize and play with other children, perhaps in a playgroup. This helps your child to develop the social skills they will need to have a good relationship with their new sibling.
- Help your toddler to get used to the idea of a new baby in the family by talking about ‘our baby’, and looking at baby pictures in albums or magazines. You can take your toddlers to visit the maternity ward, or friends with newborns, or you could help them to start a scrapbook about babies.
- Make your toddler feel secure – It’s obvious that handling toddlers wisely can lead to a more peaceful household, but it’s also important for their own well-being. Feeling secure and good about themselves is the basis of their self-confidence later in life, and these feelings can be badly shaken if they feel like a ‘nobody’ or a nuisance around the baby. Toddlers need to continue feeling loved, wanted and important, and there are many small ways to achieve this. Grandparents can be a great help in making toddlers feel special. It helps if the parent that is not on ‘baby duty’ can focus on the toddler.
- Toddlers feel important and responsible when they’re allowed to hold a baby. Encourage yours to do so, but keep watch so they don’t accidentally squash or drop the baby. Holding the toddler on your lap while they hold the baby is safest. Show your toddler how to stroke your baby gently with their palm to prevent accidental poking or scratching. Involving children in caring for the new baby with you lets you spend time with your toddler, and encourages them to see themselves as a big sister or brother with responsibilities.
Importance of Giving Your First Child a Sibling
You’ve finally adjusted to life with little ones. Yes, you will have to referee many backseat battles and buy two sets of most toys. But you will also witness them play with one another and embrace each other in a warm hug. Still not convinced?
Here are some reasons you should give your child a baby brother or sister.
1 They learn to be selfless.
When your first child was born, you realized you would do anything to protect him. Your child will experience a similar feeling when he sees his baby sibling for the first time.
2 They learn how to share.
When there’s another kid in the house, your child will learn how to divide TV time and split the last chocolate chip cookie. This will come in handy when he starts school.
3 They learn how to resolve problems.
Siblings fight — a lot! While you hate to hear the screams, it presents your kids with an opportunity to work things out rather than walk away angry.
4 They learn about teamwork.
When your kids are presented with a long list of chores, they realize that it’s easier to take on the tasks together rather than do them alone.
5 They will have a built-in playmate.
There’s no need to arrange play dates when you have a friend in the next room. Your kids will entertain each other when they’re old enough, and it will make your life so much easier. You know how everyone says screens are the best babysitters? They’re lying. Your kids are the best babysitters — for one another. Someday soon, they’re going to both get up at 6:45 in the morning, and instead of wailing your name or stomping into your bedroom, they will go wake each other and quietly read books together, allowing you to sleep in — before waking up in a panic at 8 a.m., wondering what the hell happened to them. Relax. Everything you’ve been doing as a parent has been building to this magnificent moment! Bask in your glory. You’ve earned it.
6 They have someone to learn from or teach.
Whether it’s mastering multiplication or throwing the perfect spiral, there are many things your younger child will learn from his older sibling. In the same regard, your elder child will learn a lot of patience from the new addition.
7 They have someone to talk to.
As your children age, they are less likely to come to you with their problems. If they have a sibling, however, then they have someone to turn to for guidance.
8 They have someone to celebrate with when things go great . . .
From a big birthday to a walk down the aisle, siblings stand by each other’s side through all of life’s monumental moments.
9 they have someone to lean on when times get tough.
A bruised knee. A bad grade. A broken heart. No matter the problem, siblings will be there to dry each other’s tears.
10 They have someone to grow old with.
Friends come and go, but family is forever. Having a sibling ensures that your child will have a blood connection even after you’ve passed away.
And the very best part of all? Your love just keeps growing and growing. Even on those hard days, all that extra love does a world of good. You can’t imagine loving anything as much as you love your first, and then you meet your second. And You love them just as much, and then you love your first for how much they love their sibling, and then you love your partner extra for giving you another bundle of joy! And so on and so forth. So if you’re on the fence about having a second little one, I say hop on over. Three’s a crowd, but four’s a party. But be warned, you might enjoy No. 2 so much that you start pining for No. 3!