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Involve siblings in taking care of newborns

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Children's Corner with PANIC CHILUFYA
THE arrival of a new baby is not only a life changing experience for parents but other members of a family especially siblings who often feel displaced from their special position. There have been numerous stories told of how older siblings have had to be closely supervised to ‘protect’ a new baby from an older sibling.

For instance, some older siblings have tried to do all sorts of things such as to sit on a baby, whip it, feed it or even try to lift the baby. All which I believe is done in good faith.

It is not that the older siblings do not like the baby but in their own mind they feel they are protecting their territory or trying to be helpful, depending on how they accept the latest addition. But whatever the case, it is important to maintain a watchful eye on a baby’s safety.
In cases where an older sibling feels threatened, such a child is likely to play up as a way of attracting attention of parents. In some cases, some older siblings might express resentment to both the parents and the baby who they believe is responsible for taking away all the attention.
It is therefore, important for parents to involve older siblings in taking care of the new baby as much as possible through various activities. It is important to make time for the older siblings by treating them impartially.
This can be done by gestures such as allowing them hold the baby, comb baby’s hair or helping to prepare for the new arrival; once older children realise that they still hold that special place, they are less likely to resent the baby.
Although there are no specific ways of instilling that assurance, it is important to know how to treat each child depending on a number of reasons such as age, age-gap, character and or behavioural traits.
If the child shows a lot more interest in the baby, it is best to encourage the interest but with maximum supervision for the protection of the baby. However, if the older child does not show much interest it is advisable not to force matters, eventually the child will warm up to the baby in their own time when they feel comfortable enough to deal with the situation.
Creating a one-on-one time of a parent’s undivided attention also helps to assure the older child that they are loved and hold that special place in the family. This is possible by spending time while the baby takes some naps. Knowing that there’s special time just for the child helps to ease any resentment or anger towards the baby.
However, regardless of initial feelings that some children might experience when a baby comes into a family, a sibling relationship is the most enduring in life because of the enormous impact it plays in shaping the character and history of an individual. A person could just survive without close friends or acquaintances but it is never easy to replace a sibling in spite of ups and downs associated with such a relationship. Siblings will always be a special breed!
Remember children are our future; until next week, take care.
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