One of the most common questions I get asked nowadays is if Halo is jealous of her baby sister Zen... And the answer is no! Not at all not, not even a little bit. Halo adores Zen, she loves playing with her, and she loves to help out.
When my husband and I decided to make Halo a big sister, we both began to focus on avoiding the jealousy bit. We wanted Halo to feel happy and just as important as she always has. We sat down together and came up with some ideas to make the transition as smooth as possible.
All of the steps we took have worked wonders for us, and I hope this list helps other families avoid what can be a very tough time for a child who has to share the spotlight with a younger sibling.
1. Get your child something to take care of! We bought Halo a fish tank for her nursery, made sure she saw it was empty, and covered it with wrapping paper. Once she got bored and stopped asking to peak inside, we added a fish and shrimp (I was around 37 weeks). When Zen was born (at home), we revealed her pets and she was so excited that her sister got her a fish.
She loves her tank, and still appreciates Zen giving it to her. Giving her something of her own to take care of gives her some responsibility and shows her how important it is to take care of things (like babies).
Every morning she checks on her fish and it's the cutest thing ever! A fish tank may not be feasible for every family, but there are other options such as a hamster, plant, ant farm, caterpillar, etc.
2. Buy your child a bunch of small gifts! When Zen was born, we gave Halo some surprises and told her they were all from her baby sister. She was so happy! And because every kid loves gifts, she fell in love with Zen immediately!
We also put some small gifts aside so that when people came to visit, they could give Halo a gift and some attention, before acknowledging Zen. That really helped make her feel special and very important, rather than ignored with all the attention give to her sister
3. Let the big sister or brother help! Getting the role of big sister or brother is a huge deal to a child. They want to help, so I say let them! Giving them little tasks here and there can make your child feel important and involved, rather than excluded.
When I let Halo help out, to give Zen a bath, for example, she can't wait to tell Daddy that she got to help. We’ll ask her to “teach” her little sister how to do things like hold a spoon, color, stack blocks… anything! It helped her feel involved, responsible, and helps teach her look out for her little sister.
4. Avoid making them feel like there’s a huge change. Although having Zen was a major adjustment, we didn't want Halo to feel like her life was flipped upside down. We made sure that visitors didn’t say things like “You’re not the baby anymore” or “Are you excited about the new baby?” We didn’t want Halo to feel like she’s being replaced, and made an extra effort to ensure she knew her role as our baby has not changed.
It has been 10+ months since Zen was born, and Halo still shows no sign of jealousy. Each day we continue to show both of our girls that they are equally important and loved!
It's important to show your kids that you have added an addition to the family, and not a replacement.
Halo adores her little sister and her little sister adores her right back. Everybody is happy!
If you are adding to your family, help your oldest transition into sister or brotherhood! With continued support and work, it can be really easy!