The best way to prevent your children from feeling ignored over the initial days and weeks of a new bundle of joy taking up residence in their house, is to make a plan.
Figure out how you can structure in time to connect with them. Ask your kids what they most enjoy doing with you. After they’ve tried to get you to buy a radio-controlled unicorn or take a trip to the dairy, they’ll start to say the things that they genuinely enjoy doing with you. What they say may surprise you. Sometimes we think our kids feel more loved if we go on a big holiday, or if let them grow a rat’s tail, or if we build them a rocking horse using old beer cans. But for children (and most humans actually), it’s the little things we do that often create connection.
Maybe they love the way you make toast, or the songs that you sing to them at night, or you doing puzzles with them, or you kicking a ball in the backyard, or you taking them to school. It’s the little things that you do often.
When you’ve only got one kid, you and your partner can share the load. When it’s two kids, it’s a one-to-one ratio. But when you hit more than two, you’re outnumbered, and that means you have to be intentional about connecting with each of your kids.
Being intentional about connection doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. Here are a few things you could do with your kids while they adjust to their new sibling –
Play at the park
Go to a sports game
Head to McDonalds for an ice cream
Feed some ducks
Watch a movie together
Build a hut made of blankets
Read books in your bed
Go for a drive to the hills or the beach
Have a technology-free hot chocolate date at a local cafe
Go swimming at the local pool
Go for a walk together
Go for a bike ride
Change can create disconnection, but it doesn’t have to. It can actually be an opportunity for even greater connection, and we know that kids who feel deeply connected to their family thrive in life.