How can we help our child overcome jealousy of our newborn?

Karyn Hall

Make sure the older child gets special attention. Maybe Dad could spend some time with the older child or other relatives could plan some activiites with the older child.

Read books about having a new sibling to the older child.

Involve the older child in the care of the baby. Let the older child help you with activities around the house, doing them with you whenever possible rather than for you.

Watch your words. Don't make the baby the reason your older child can't do his normal activiites or what he used to do. Instead of "I can't hug you now, I'm feeding the baby: say "I want to hug you so much, but my arms are busy right now."  

Validate your child's feelings. State what you guess he must be feeling and acknowledge his feelings are understandable.  "It must be hard for you to wait" and "I bet you wish we could go to the park whenever you wanted to."

Teach the older child how to touch the baby and how to be around the baby.

Be patient with baby behavior or other unusual behavior from your older child. He's trying to adjust.



Armin Brott
You can help the elder sibling get over his jealousy of a newborn by:
  • Start by telling him—often—that you and Mom love him very much and that those feelings will never change.
  • Keep a few small presents around in case big brother feels left out when people bring gifts for the baby but not for him.
  • Stress the perks of being an older brother. For example, the baby is too little to play with “big boy” toys, or eat food that big kids do. It’s an odd way to build self-esteem, but it works.

Continue Learning about Family Relationships

How can I keep my marriage happy when our kids take up so much of our time?
Hal RunkelHal Runkel
Did you notice that you said your kids “take so much of our time”? Let’s rephrase that: You are givi...
More Answers
What factors can help my child feel safe?
Factors that can help your child feel safe include secure, loving relationships with parents and car...
More Answers
What Are Some of the Behavioral Issues You See in Families?
What Are Some of the Behavioral Issues You See in Families?
Are There Positives in How Our Relationships Affect Our Health?
Are There Positives in How Our Relationships Affect Our Health?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.