Support and Advice from TNPC's Parenting Experts

Expect some natural jealousy when you bring home a new brother or sister. Most children under three years of age prefer to be the only child, and here are some thoughts.

• First, give your older child the extra attention he’s asking for. Give him lots of hugs, scattered throughout the day, and if he demands to be held while you’re feeding the baby, try to include him. At least, talk to him while you’re busy with your baby.

• Second, encourage your child to play with the new baby, but in your presence. Allow him to hold the baby, but while sitting in a chair with side arms and emphasize how much that baby likes him.

• Third, accept regressive behavior such as thumb sucking or clinging; your child needs to do this temporarily.

• Fourth, if your child behaves aggressively toward the baby, intervene immediately and give your child a “time out” for a few minutes. Do not spank your child; if you hit him, he will eventually try to do the same to the baby.

By the way, when he starts using the phrase, “my baby” you’re out of the woods.

During Dr. Schmitt’s 20 years as a medical practitioner and researcher, he has published over 100 articles or chapters on pediatric health care, and has been awarded the distinguished C. Anderson Aldrich Award by the American Academy of Pediatrics for outstanding contributions to the field of child development. Schmitt has also authored five books including Your Child’s Health, which won Child Magazine’s first Hall of Fame Award in 1991. Schmitt is also a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and on staff at The Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado.


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