Ask Dr. Sears: Jealous 5-Year-Old
Timeshare. Your child is probably worried that she won't have enough time with you, and she probably won't. It's unrealistic to think you will be able to give 200 percent. Yet you can share with your child the time you spend caring for your baby. Wearing your baby in a baby sling gives you two free hands to play a game with your older child. While feeding Baby, read a book to your child or just have some "cuddle time." Martha found that starting the day off with 10 minutes of cuddle time with the older child, while the new baby was sleeping, helped start the day off with some special one-on-one emotional refueling.
You're special too! A new baby naturally attracts lots of attention. Friends shower gifts on the new baby, and parents are constantly holding, feeding, changing, or comforting the new arrival. Older siblings can get lost in the whirlwind of activity a new baby brings into the house. It's understandable that older children may feel that no one notices them. When an admirer says, "What a beautiful baby," add: "Now we have two beautiful children," or "And she has a beautiful big sister!" Remember that dads can give the older child special attention too, such as by taking them out to the park.
Make the older child feel important and needed. This elevates the older child's position in the family. Tell big sister that you need her help and show her what to do. In our large family, we refer to this as "giving her a job in the family organization." Give her a fun job title like "mommy's helper," mommy's assistant," or "mommy's go-fer." Then, ask her to participate ("Bring me a diaper, please"; "Let's dress the baby together"). Feeling important helps many children relish the "big sister" or "big brother" role.