How to Avoid Sibling Rivalry with a New Baby

How to Avoid Sibling Rivalry with a New Baby

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When I found out I was pregnant with baby #2, I knew that we were going to have to find ways to make sure that our daughter, Peyton, felt included with the new baby.  She had been the only child for 2+ years.  I knew this would be a big change for her and could cause some unintended sibling rivalry.

We started to refer to our new baby boy by name so that she could get used to the idea that there would soon be a new member of our family.  She started to get excited about meeting her little brother.

The other thing I wanted to make sure we did to avoid having any sibling rivalry when Gage needed to have so much attention, as a new baby tends to do.  I came up with a list of little tasks she could help me with so that she would feel needed and part of the every day care of Gage.

One of her biggest jobs was getting diapers for Gage.  Whenever it was time to change his diaper, it was Peyton’s job to get a new diaper for us.  She took this responsibility super serious and would even race to the changing table whenever we said Gage needed his diaper changed.  She would get so mad if we changed his diaper without her!

Another task we gave her was to bring in Gage’s bottle and get him a bib and burp cloth.  Either my husband or I would make up the bottle and then Peyton was in charge of bringing it to us and getting a bib and burp cloth for us.  She loved it!

I’d also let her help me with little chores around the house – she’d fill my k-cup coffee rack, help put away silverware and plastic cups from the dishwasher, help me set the table for dinner and even help me change the laundry.  She loves being my little helper and even has a little apron that she likes to wear when she’s doing her chores.

All these things helped to make her feel included as we needed to focus more attention on her new little brother.

What did you do to help your older children adjust to having a new baby and not feel a sibling rivalry?

Is your little one going to be a big brother or big sister?  Check out these ideas for making sure your older sibling feels included when the new baby arrives.

41 comments found

  1. My oldest was 4 years old when we got pregnant with our second. I was so worried he’d struggle with a new baby. He didn’t. When I got pregnant with the third when my second was only 2 years old, I was afraid there’d be sibling rivalry. I was surprised because there wasn’t. Of course, now that my boys are 9, 4, and 2 there’s plenty of fighting to go around.

    1. Thank you so much! I am lucky – they do love each other most of the time, but they also love to wrestle around now that they are a bit older!

  2. Good tips to create the bond and make the older one feel connected. My kids are 3 and 6 and sometimes they are like Twins and other times like Tom & Jerry.

  3. I’m raising 5 grandkids and still have not mastered sibling rivalry. I applaud you for your amazing technique in including your daughter in everything.

    1. Thank you! It’s not always easy when she becomes over-eager to help, but I’m lucky that she is interested in helping at all!

  4. I remember those days. I did a lot of the same things – just tried to include my older child in caring for the baby. I was lucky enough to have a good three months of maternity leave, so we spent a lot of time together and I always made it out to be “the three of us” as if we were a team.

  5. When our son was born I bought a gift that he could give to our older daughter. She was beyond ecstatic. We try our best to make sure that each of them gets attention. She loves helping and is very protective over him now.

  6. Great advice! My son and his wife did much of the same things to help my 3 year old grandson welcome his baby sister into the family. He is already the ‘big brother’ and absolutely loves his ‘Isla baby’ 🙂

  7. These are such great tips. When I had my daughter, my two older boys had a little bit of a hard time bonding with her. My oldest just wasn’t interested and my middle child was jealous. It took awhile for them to bond. This is such an important topic. And that top photo… Adorable….

  8. I love this post! I do not have kids yet, but as a Kindergarten teacher, I am learning so much about the ins and outs about kids and future parenthood. These are some great tips 🙂

  9. My boys are older (18, 15 and 12), but we (by God’s grace!!) never had an issue with sibling rivalry. They’re boys, so there has always been a little bit of competition involved, but they tell me they have never felt as if they were competing for attention or affection. I consider myself blessed. We, too, did the whole getting the older ones involved ~ it did help. Plus, we always tried to make time for each of them – not always easy, but we did it. Good luck with your littles!!

  10. I love your pictures and great ideas! Girls have always seemed more helpful than the boys so it’s great to use it to your advantage! 🙂

    I have 5 children and all of them have had to go through transition with a new sibling. One thing someone told me was when the big siblings come to visit in the hospital, make sure you are not holding the baby. Let you children decide who they want to go to see first, you or their new sibling. This way it’s their choice and it doesn’t look like you already chose who to be giving all your attention to from the start. I did this for all my kids and they all chose to see baby before Mommy except for my oldest who was only 16 months old and barely knew what was going on.

    I also gave my children the ability to sometimes tell Mommy what to do. If both of your children are crying and needing your attention. I’d ask the oldest what should I do to get baby to stop crying. They would then tell me feed baby. They would then calm down because they decided who mommy needed to tend to first. While baby was nursing we would read a story together or talk.

    As they got older they will tend to fight more so I would stick them on the recliner together and say stay until you are both happy again. Being young and so forgiving they would make up and jump off as friends again.

    My youngest had the hardest transition because she had one day to get used to the idea of not being the youngest anymore. At the last minute due to a social worker’s call, we took in my sister-in-law’s 3 day old and 14 month old. As long as she gets some snuggle time with her mommy and helps out when she’s in the mood she’s doing pretty good. Each child is different but each child needs to know and feel that Mommy loves them lots. <3 Keep up the great work!!! 🙂

  11. It can be a really hard adjustment for toddlers when a new sib enters the picture! Very good thought to have your little one feel purposeful by helping out with such an important job (and actually is helpful to you as well).

  12. These are such great tips. Including your daughter in everything and giving her a voice is so important. The age difference between my boys (15 years!) luckily had me avoiding a lot of the early sibling rivalry issues.

    1. Congratulations and good luck – I found balancing the two tougher than when I was able to just focus on the one. And when they start running in different directions – watch out!

  13. Great opportunities to include Peyton in being a big sister for Gage! I have four kiddos, and having little tasks for the older siblings to do was an opportunity for them to feel helpful and important. Cute kiddos!!

  14. I think we had a much easier time and a much more difficult time in some ways. My first daughter was five when my second daughter was born. So she had had 5 years as an only child. Introducing a baby was a huge change for her. But they also don’t really have sibling rivalry in the typical ways because they are so far apart in age.

  15. I’ve lucked out for the most part, because all of my kids have been pretty good big brothers or sisters. We just had our fourth baby 3 months ago, and I think everyone has adjusted ok for having a new baby brother.

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