Ease their transition from little prince to “cool kuya” and from fairy princess to “awesome ate.”
You’ve always dreamed of having 2 kids and now that day has come, at last. You prepared everything for your new bundle of joy’s arrival, but did you prepare the most important one - your eldest child? Because once your eldest asks the question, “what about me, mommy?”, now you have to start dealing with sibling rivalry.
No matter what others say, sibling rivalry will always take shape in some way once you have two or more children. Since you can’t avoid it, the best way to manage sibling rivalry is to prepare your eldest well for when your second baby finally comes home. This makes the transition from only child to the older child a lot easier for them - and for you. Here are a few tips to help you through this.
THE “I’M SO GLAD KUYA/ATE KITA” GIFT
Every child enjoys getting gifts, especially when there’s no occasion. Mom, you can make this a good way to start the relationship between the two kids. Start by buying a gift for your eldest (preferably one of his or her favorites). BUT you only give it when you arrive from the hospital with your baby. When your eldest greets you, hand over the gift and say it’s from their new sibling - “baby wanted to give you this gift because she’s so happy you’re her kuya.” Framed this way, this is a pasalubong, and hopefully a sibling relationship, they will always hold dear.
BIG KIDS, BIG ACTIVITIES
Enrolling your eldest child in new and super fun kids’ activities (like ballet classes for kids or swimming classes for kids) can help them feel more grown up. As they learn new things, they will grow more independent and mature. So seeing themselves in the roles of kuya or ate to your newborn becomes easier. As they do so, acknowledge and compliment their newfound maturity but don’t forget to “baby” them once in a while when they need you.
THE “MOVING UP” HAND-ME-DOWNS
It’s only practical to reuse old cribs and bassinets. But when your eldest says “Mama, that’s mine!” feelings of jealousy have been triggered. You can flip the script by telling them giving baby their old stuff is their “graduation” to “big boy” or “big girl.” In doing so, you can reinforce their role of older sibling as better and “levelled-up.” The words “Kuya” and “Ate” then become titles worn with pride. Getting them long pants or dresses or big kid beds (to replace their crib) can also help complete this experience.
JOINING TEAM BABY
Part of managing sibling rivalry is making sure your eldest understands that baby is so helpless at this time. They need more time and more work. One way of making them see this is having them be a part of taking care of their sibling. Give them easy tasks that are “very important.” Kuya or Ate can check if there’s water in their bottles. They can make sure the diaper box is full. As a bonus, giving them these responsibilities also helps them be part of time with baby while also getting to spend more time with mom. Now that’s a definite win for Team Baby!
SPECIAL KUYA / ATE TIME
You may know this already, moms and dads, but one of the best ways to manage rivalry between siblings is setting aside specific, special moments during the day with your eldest. Spend time with them. Do the things they love. Make them know and realize that they’re receiving the equal amount of love and attention from both of you. You can do this by taking turns or together, once you’ve ensured the baby is taken care of. This not only keeps them from feeling insecure but more so, it reinforces your bonds with your eldest to make them as strong as ever.
Having a second child is an absolute dream. And preparing your eldest for baby’s arrival will definitely help make him share that dream with the whole family. Hopefully, these few tips can help you and dad make this moment an easier transition for your eldest child.
- Boyce, K. (2016). Preparing Children for a New Baby. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
- Garey, J. (n.d.). childmind.org. From Preparing Your Child for a New Sibling: https://childmind.org/article/preparing-child-new-sibling/
- Healthycare.org. (2019, April). From How to Prepare Your Older Children for a New Baby: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/prenatal/Pages/Prepa...