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Help! My preschooler is jealous of the new baby!

by Maxine
Posted December 22 2010 03:44pm
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Having a new baby fit into the family when you already have an older child - or children - is quite an adjustment for everyone. A young child, in particular, can feel rejected because you need to spend so much time with the baby. Toddlers may react in some harsh ways, like wanting you to send the baby back to the hospital, or inadvertently hurting the newborn. Or they may temporarily act younger, by having toilet accidents or demanding to eat like the baby, to get your attention.

With children who are five or older, jealousy can show itself subtly, like cuddling too hard or blaming the baby for accidents. But they may not get too upset at the birth of a new baby. Often they start to act like a big brother or sister. Your child may feel quite possessive about the baby, and want to help change or feed her new sibling.

It's important to let your child know you understand that he doesn't always feel loving toward the new baby. Let your child say he is sad or angry, help him be a helpful older sibling. Read stories about families with new babies and talk together about how the older child felt in the story.  Make some time for just yourself and your older child every day; even ten uninterrupted minutes will make a difference.

Be aware that jealousy may also appear when your baby moves to a new stage. For example, your older child may be quite generous with the new baby until your baby learns to walk. Now that your baby is walking, she can interrupt your older child's play, discover his toys, break or scatter them and take over his friends. As your baby learns to talk, she becomes able to challenge your older child. This will trigger jealousy, where previously it was not a problem.


How did your preschooler react to the new baby? Was there jealousy? How did you cope? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents just like you!


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