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Contemporary Parenting Questions

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Last updated on 11/26/08

How should I prepare my child for a new sibling?

In the United States, about 80% of families with children are composed of more than one child, meaning most children have brothers and sisters. Many children get a new sibling during their preschool years, either through birth or through adoption. The addition of a new sibling can be a huge transition for young children to go through, as they must start to share attention, affection, and space with another young person for the first time.

Parents can ease this change by preparing children well in advance for the upcoming birth. They should try to explain to kids, in age-appropriate language, what to expect and how their situation will likely change. Books and videos written in kid-friendly language and covering the topic of sibling introductions are available at many libraries and bookstores. Above all, caregivers should try to make existing children feel important and involved during this exciting time in the family's life.

Even with appropriate preparation, many children still exhibit resentful behavior when the new child actually arrives. It is important to give your child an increased amount of attention and allow them to spend time with their new sibling. It may take a little while, but children generally adjust to their new siblings after a few weeks and can prove to be useful aids in caring for the new baby.

In the Jewish Community

The average family size in the Jewish Community is considerably larger than those of its counterparts. It is not unusual for a family to have six or eight young children, causing Jewish families to deal with the birth of a new child more frequently. When a new baby is born to a large family, the former youngest child is easily forgotten. It is imperative to give this child even more attention than they received before in order that they should not associate the birth of the baby with a negative occurrence. It is advisable to assign an older child to give attention to the younger children, ensuring that no child will be left on the sidelines to fend for itself.

Use the following links to learn to prepare your children for a new sibling. Find out about a child’s feelings toward a new child read about readily available books to help prepare your children for a new baby.

Frequently Asked Links

What is the best way to tell my children that they are getting another sibling?

Why might the arrival of a new sibling be hard for my children to handle?

Are my kids ready for a new sibling?

What are some common reactions to the birth of a sibling?

What should I expect from my child when the new baby comes?

What can I do to minimize the issues associated with the birth of a sibling?

What can I say to prepare my child for a new sibling?

What can I do to help my children start off on the right foot?

How can I help my child welcome a new sibling?

How can I help my son feel better about being a big brother?

How can I help my child learn to be a sibling?

What books can I read to my child to help with adjusting to the new baby?

Related Articles

Does Parenting Matter?

By Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

Sibling Rivalry
As upsetting as it can be for a parent, conflict between siblings is very common. Luckily, you can take steps to help your kids get along.

Bringing Your Baby Home
Whether your baby comes home from the hospital right away, arrives later, or comes through an adoption agency, homecoming is a major event you have probably imagined often.

Resources

Parenting Resources for the Jewish Community

Compiled by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
http://www.aap.org
The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.

Rabbi Horowitz does not endorse any external sites or monitor or approve content on these sites. When considering information presented here, you should consult your experts to determine what is best for you. Our sole purpose is to help you access information that Rabbi Horowitz and others have made available on the internet.

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