When I was expecting Meg, a wise mother of ten shared a piece of advice with me that has come to mind so many times the past few weeks, “Make sure your older children view the baby a blessing, not the source of all their miseries.”
When we first welcome home a new little bundle, it’s hard to imagine the love and excitement wearing away for big siblings. But as the days pass by and sleepless night follows sleepless night, it’s easy to let big brother and sister feel the brunt of Mama’s exhaustion.
- “Stop talking so loud! You might wake up the baby.”
- “Don’t be so rough, you might hurt the baby.”
- “I can’t hold you right now. Don’t you hear the baby crying?”
Be careful! We all want our children to view the new baby as a blessing from God. We want them to embrace a worldview that values the gift of children. But when Baby becomes the inadvertent cause of all of a big sibling’s trouble, it’s easy to see how anger or jealousy could creep in.
Instead, this wise mother encouraged, involve big brother and sister.
- When Baby really needs to be held and the toddler really needs attention, let the toddler hold the baby and talk about how grateful you are that God gave you these little blessings.
- When older siblings are whooping and hollering during Baby’s nap time, pile them onto the couch with you and quietly tell stories about when they were babies. (Anyone else’s kiddos love hearing about when they were babies?)
- If an older sibling is being too rough, of course you need to rescue the baby. But two-year-old-brothers probably aren’t trying to suffocate Baby, they just need loving training (and lots of encouragement) on the right way to love on Baby. Show them how to be gentle and praise them when they are.
Create a home where Baby is a blessing, not a cause of constant constraint for big siblings.
Multiple times over the last few weeks I’ve been reminded of her words. I’d be lying if I said the transition from three to four has been a piece of cake. Or if I said that Meg hasn’t struggled at all the last few weeks and needed lots of extra hugs and cuddle time as she’s transitioned to being a big sister (cutting molars and catching a cold didn’t help!) But I’m so grateful that she, and the others, wake up wanting to hold and love on baby Edmund.