Sibling Relationships with a New Baby
My sweet natured son constantly amazes me. Of course there are many toddler tantrums, when he flings himself to the ground with his crocodile tears streaming down his full cheeks. But what has surprised me the most about his growth and development is his goodness, his sweetness, and how he radiates love, especially the love he shows his baby sister.
Sibling relationships with a new baby in the house can be tricky. There is a constant struggle for balance, to make sure I am showing both children enough love. There are times when Rocco becomes jealous because I am giving the new baby too much attention. But then there are a lot of sweet moments when Rocco’s love for Gigi overrides all the jealousy.
When Gigi was 2-3 months old, we started letting Rocco interact with her on a more intimate level. We waited that long because he didn’t quite get the concept of ‘be gentle, be nice’ when she was still a very fragile infant.
As he gingerly approached his sister, almost immediately, a broad smile developed on his face, his eyes sparkling. He said “Gigi” in his tiny high-pitched voice and instinctively tried to hug her. His attempt at a hug was more like lying on top of her, but the sentiment was there.
Without any prompting from my husband or me, Rocco consistently shows love for his sister. He wants to hug her, to kiss her, to play with her.
Yesterday, my husband overheard Rocco reading to Gigi. This was especially sweet and funny because, at his age, he only knows maybe 50 words. I’m not even sure you’d call it reading. While she was in her bouncy chair, he sat next to her and flipped through one of his board books. He pointed at the words he knew and read, “ball…bire (fire) truck…ball…fla (flower),” as he turned the pages for her.
Just as endearing, almost any time Gigi cries, Rocco yells “Gigi!”. Most of the time, the tone of his voice suggests to say, “it’s OK Gigi, don’t cry”. His concern for her and his love for her is just the sweetest thing.
Watching these early, loving interactions between my two children brings me so much joy. I really cherish my relationship with my sister and I always wanted my own children to have a close relationship.
I’m sure there will be a lot of rocky moments in their adolescence, but seeing how much Rocco already cares for his sister gives me hope that their relationship will be strong and loving.
If your toddler isn’t as welcoming to your new baby, give it time. I’m sure your children will come around once they see the love you have for their brother or sister. Plus, your child will learn to model your behavior, so the more love you show both children, the more likely your toddler will adjust with time.
Have your toddlers shown innocent love for their siblings like Rocco? If not, what has worked for you to transition the new baby to the house?