homemaker logo
baby held by big sister and big brother.

Helping children bond with a new baby (tips to adjust)


pin for helping children bond with a new baby.

If you’re trying to help your children adjust and bond with a new baby, then we have a few tips! 

We’ve had four babies in 9 years and have had great bonding experiences for our children. While it’s been a beautiful journey, there have been a few bumps in the road as well. 

Older siblings can sometimes struggle to adjust to the huge life change of adding a newborn baby to the family. This is totally normal, and there’s nothing wrong with your children. 

It’s a delicate time for all family members, and we can take our time with this. 

We have a lifetime together.

If you’re reading this postpartum, I want to encourage you. This is a really consuming season in life, and although it’s beautiful, it can feel difficult. 

*If you are struggling with postpartum depression, please contact a christian counselor or your health care provider.

Most likely, your children will all enjoy a strong bond and be the best of friends someday soon. Don’t be discouraged!

big sister and little brother rolling out gingerbread cookies together.

I say most likely, because there’s no guaranteed formula. 

But most often, siblings are little built-in-besties! 

Helping kids adjust to a new baby by parent’s attitudes.

The first point I’d like to mention is the parents’ attitudes.

This is the biggest thing to consider, which is why I’m listing it first.

If Mom and Dad are apologizing to the kids for having a baby, then the kids will likely follow suit in feeling negatively about the new baby. 

mom, dad, big brother, and baby sister.

If mom and Dad are smiling and rejoicing that they’ve been blessed with a precious new life in the family, then the kids will likely want to celebrate as well. 

A new baby can really take up an extraordinary amount of your time (especially for Mama) but try to always make room for the older children also. 

Helping children adjust to bringing a new baby home by discussing it with them.

Kids are smart. Even really young children can understand much more than we give then credit for. 

If it seems appropriate, take a minute to explain to the kids how even though the baby needs you so much, that doesn’t mean the baby is more important or more loved. 

Our oldest is enamored with our new little guy, and I often like to remind her that I love her as much as I love him. It’s just no longer acceptable for me to smooch her cheeks as much as I do his. 

There is nothing like those baby cheeks!

baby wearing blue hat.

Just because the baby is shown affection in slightly different ways, does not make their importance any more or less than the other children.

Helping children adjust to a new baby by creating a family unit, not an entourage.

The family is a team. It shouldn’t revolve around any one person. 

family's hands on top of each other.

A family is a unit before a baby comes into it. Yes, a baby adds to the family, but does not become the nucleus. 

The older kids will understand they aren’t the center of the family to begin with. They’re part of the team, and the whole family works together as a loving unit. 

This can help them not feel like they’re losing their spotlight in the first place. 

But it’s still a big adjustment!

Helping kids adjust to a new baby by one-on-one time.

dad and son fishing.

One really great way to help the family assimilate to having a new member is lots of one-on-one time with each kid and each parent. 

This can be as simple as doing bath time with a toddler. You could go for a walk with one kid, or take big brother to run errands. 

It doesn’t have to be outlandish or expensive, but it can be a little more fancy if you have the bandwidth for it.

If Daddy gets to be home after baby is born, he can use that time to take the older kids out for lunch, or a coffee date for a preteen. 

A little special time can go a long way. 

This will look different for each unique child. Find out what breathes life into your children and arrange a few of those things. 

Yes, this takes some planning and forethought, especially after having a baby. But it’s so good. And trust me, it does our mama heart good to still pursue quality time with our other children after having a new baby. 

mom holding popcorn with son on left and daughter on left.

If it’s not possible to sneak away with an older kid, just stay home and play a game together during Baby’s nap time. Give them some good eye contact and a little time together with just one parent. 

They just want to know they’re still as important to you as they were before the arrival of a new baby. 

Helping kids adjust to a new baby by continuing traditions.

Kids thrive if they know what to expect.

family movie night.

A new baby tends to throw everything off (in the best way!)

But when they feel like everything is all upside down, it can be such a great comfort for them to still get to enjoy their simple traditions.

Even the daily routines such as bedtime rituals. 

Try to continue the Friday night movies, or Taco Tuesdays. Whatever your family loves celebrating, keep those going! (When you’re ready of course.)

Need help creating new family traditions?

Encouraging kids to adjust to a new baby by giving special jobs.

This is so important.

When a baby is added to the family, the second child then becomes a big sibling. This is a whole new role for them to play in the family, and it’s so important! 

It’s a big change for them, too. 

baby held by big brother, with sister rubbing his head.

But I’ve never seen a child not be excited about doing any “big girl/boy” jobs to help out. These could be simple and small, such as helping pick out the baby’s clothes.

It could be slightly bigger jobs, such as handing Mommy the wipes during a diaper change.

What about helping the kids bond with the Baby?

baby in a blue swaddle, big sister giving baby a kiss.

This is the fun part! 

Encouraging sibling relationships with a new baby by being together.

We want to encourage new sibling affection with lots of good time together.

When the baby is super little, there isn’t a whole lot of interaction. But there is still ample opportunity for bonding.

After each of our successive babies was born, I would put the baby swing next to the big kids while they played. They would just be existing in the same area, not necessarily interacting.

newborn baby in a baby chair, big brother smiling beside him.

But this helps them enjoy just being around each other.

Baby will naturally be enthralled with them as they develop more alertness. What big kid doesn’t enjoy having a fan club?

It’s a good idea to encourage the kids to talk to the baby. You can explain that the baby knows their voices from when the baby was in Mama’s tummy.

Check out this research. God’s design is absolutely amazing!

Let them marvel at Baby’s tiny fingers and toes. Let them hold the baby (with supervision). 

Having the baby close will encourage lots of bonding. 

Helping the older kids understand what stage the baby is in will also be extremely helpful.

newborn baby on blanket, with big brother above him.

For instance, as the baby is working on tummy time (the bigger siblings can lay on their tummy too, and cheer on the baby!) we can remind the kids that soon the baby will roll.

Once the baby starts rolling, we can tell the kids how the baby will soon start trying to crawl, and so on. 

This is really fun for the kids, because they know what is coming, and they can show the baby how to do these things.

We want to encourage a healthy attachment with all of the kids. 

Encourage bonding by speaking words of life.

Our words are so important. We know this. 

When we are speaking to our kids about the baby, it’s great to say, “your baby brother” instead of saying “the baby”.

big sister holding baby.

Remind them this baby is THEIRS too. The baby is their sibling, not just Mama’s baby. 

Telling them they are forever friends is such a loving truth as well. I know some people aren’t best friends with their siblings when they’re grown up, but you will forever be intrinsically connected. 

Speaking words of life by reminiscing with the older children. 

Speaking to them about when they were babies, is also a sweet reminder for them.

If you have time to pull out a few photos of when the big sister was the baby’s age, that’s even better!

They love it when you remind them how precious they’ve always been to you, and will continue to be.

big brother holding newborn baby in a chair.

Plus, we take all these adorable photos and videos and then they just sit on our phones.  Maybe take the time to set up a nice slide show of when each kid was a new baby, and make some popcorn and snuggle in. That could be a really precious bonding moment. 

Encouragement for your family

If you have an older child that is having some big feelings about an addition of a new family member, let the child feel those feelings. It’s a big new change for the whole family.

There may always be a touch of sibling rivalry going on, but our goal is to create a loving family where everyone is willing to sacrifice for each other. 

If you’re in a season of having a new baby, I pray that God will meet you where you are. I pray that God will bless your whole family as you work to settle in to a new unit. 

This is such a precious time. God bless you.

Hi, I’m Stephanie! I’m a Christian wife, mom of 4, homeschooler, and a technically trained chef. I love creating a simple, beautiful life with our sweet family.

I’m so glad you’re here!

Read more…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *