Planning for a second child? Deciding to add another member to the family is an exciting event, but before you get started, you might already be feeling a little unsure about how to handle the second child. Even if you’ve already experienced pregnancy once, it doesn’t mean the second is the same. How are you to juggle between caring for a child and “making” another?
Having a second baby doesn’t mean neglecting the first child
Can your first child handle a new addition to the family? There’s no way to tell how receptive your child will be to another sibling and you’ll find out in time to come.
As your child might be witness to your vomiting throughout the first trimester of pregnancy, it goes without saying that while your child watches you try to stay afloat, he or she can become a little uneasy, especially if you’re unable to be there for them like before. They could start feeling a little lonely and because they’re young, they might naturally put the blame on the second baby.
Try to tackle this if you see your first child already showing signs of displeasure toward the second child – reassure them by actively expressing your love for them and spending time with them when you’re up to it.
Taking them out for walks, reading them a bedtime story or even hugging and kissing them can help your first child calm down and be reassured of your love. Don’t let them be subject to feelings of loneliness and the fear of rejection even while you’re busy trying to cope with your second pregnancy.
What to do after bringing home your second child
When your second child goes home, the start of a life as a sibling begins for your first child. When attention from everyone is divided between the siblings, that will mean that your first child might inevitably notice the difference in the amount of attention paid to themselves and their baby sibling, and start feeling a little left out.
You might want to see this as another opportunity to shower your first child with love and attention – reaffirm them with your words and actions. For example, one of the things you can do is to engage your first child with the task of helping you out while you take care of your baby.
That will not only make them feel needed around the house, it might also start instilling in them a sense of responsibility as an older child.
Regression due to a second child
Behavioral regression in toddlers aren’t uncommon – there are many videos of toddlers having “meltdowns” when they find out that Mommy is pregnant. Regression is actually a sign showing that your child wants monopoly over you, your partner and your family’s love.
Some toddlers as young as 2 years old might start creating trouble on purpose and doing what they know is wrong just for the sake of attention.
Regression of your child doesn’t mean you haven’t been bringing them up well – your child is very much an individual with his or her own nature as well. What you can do is to work out how you want to be able to communicate the fact that you love him or her very much to them in ways they can understand.
Relationship between age gap and reaction to a second baby
One-year age gap
A one-year age gap means that your first child isn’t old enough to understand complex feelings like jealousy. They will be able to accept the newborn baby better, play together, and are seen to forge good relationships well into adolescence.
Two to three-year age gap
The first child can understand that there will soon be/there is a baby and help to take care of their sibling. However, children as young as 2-years-old can register the fact that their younger sibling is now the center of attention and might feel a little uneasy and lost.
This doesn’t necessarily reflect what’s happening in the minds of all 2 or 3 year-olds, but be watchful and constantly express love and affection for your first child so they don’t feel like they’re not wanted.
Four-year age gap or more
Children above the age of 4 or more can be said to be very sensible and at an age where they are able to help you out with small things around the house.
Also, they might start becoming more independent and start doing things on their own more. This is the general mindset of firstborn children – the need to be responsible and be able to take care of the other younger siblings simply because they are the “oldest”.
Although this might really be a godsend to you, try to understand your first child’s true feeling – some children try to act like a grown-up, but this can cause stress and it might manifest in the form of bed-wetting. Don’t forget to show your appreciation and love to them when they help you.
Show your first child that two is better than one
Loving and taking care of two children might not be easy and you might feel a little sorry that your first child isn’t able to get all the attention that he or she deserves.
What you can do is to try to soften the impact on your first child by reassuring them of your love. Even when the second baby is born, don’t give up all your time with your first child. Caring for the first child remains just as important.
Show your first child how 2 children can be better than them being all alone. Spending time together is key to building a harmonious relationship – so take time to let them get to know each other!