The age gap between my two children is just over two years. Of course my husband and I worried and thought about how Hudson would adjust to becoming a big brother. Would he resent the baby? Would he be jealous? Perhaps he wouldn’t even care?
Scarlett is now seven months old. So far it’s smooth sailing. While the fighing over toys and hitting each other hasn’t begun yet, we have survived the early stages and Hudson has adjusted pretty well. We did a few things to help him through this period, even starting while I was still pregnant.
* Include the older sibling in your pregnancy: Hudson came along to one scan. We showed him pictures of the scan and spoke to him about baby names.
* Involve them in the planning process: Hudson came with me to buy baby clothes. I let him pick an outfit for his sister and he also picked a little present to bring her into the hospital. I wrapped it and left it with my husband to bring on his first trip into the hospital. Hudson also had a gift given to him from Scarlett when he came to the hospital (a bag with colouring, small dinosaurs and some snacks). He was very excited to get a present from his sister and it kept him occupied for a little bit while he visited.
*Build them up: We started telling Hudson he is a big boy. He got a big boy bed, new car seat, chair and table to eat and play at. I made a big deal about him being a big brother. We thought he may not like changing from his cot and high chair but he took it in his stride. When it can time to try something new, we always acted excited and positive about all the changes and it reflected in his behaviour.
*Spend time: before Scarlett was born. We spent some quality time taking Hudson out, going out for dinners, to the park and play centres. This ensured that if we were housebound for a little bit he had had some fun with just me and my husband before he became a big brother. Even now, while Scarlett sleeps I make sure I have some quality time just with Hudson. We read books, play playdoh or blocks. He knows he gets my undivided attention for a period of time so isn’t as needy when I am feeding or looking after Scarlett.
*Encourage helping: I encourage Hudson to help with getting nappies, taking bottles to the sink and popping clothes in the washing basket. He feels included and it’s great watching him learn.
While we have moments and days where Hudson is clingy or upset with things (as any two year old does). The majority of the time we have a happy little household. For now I’m just going to enjoy, until the sibling bickering begins.