How can an older child help with a new baby?
Some children are very eager to want to help with a new younger sibling. What are ways you can let your older child help with a new baby?
When I was pregnant with each of the younger 6, I took each of the older ones to the store, and let them pick out something for the new baby to wear. I believe by doing this, and by allowing the older child to help dress the baby in the outfit that they picked out, lets them know we are a family and we do everything together. Also each one of the older children was allowed to hold the baby at the hospital, with in hours of the baby being born. They each sat on the bed beside me and held the baby. (my youngest is 2 now and her older sister is 4, but I have ages up to 19 and a granddaughter who is almost 1.) The only problem we has was when we brought my granddaughter home, my little one who had turned 1 the month before did not like mommy holding the baby, she was fine with anyone else holding her but I could not, that lasted a whole hour, until I was able to sit down with her in my lap and her holding her niece. My little girl now takes care of my granddaughter as much as she can when she comes to visit, as that is "her baby".
The older siblings can help by assisting with diaper changes and getting supplies for the baby, letting them help with bottle feedings or at bathtime, reading stories or gentle play or singing songs to the baby, encouraging an older sibling to accept and connect to the new baby is important, but if you want the older sibling to do well with the new baby, ensure they are always loved and include them with whatever you can!
One of the most helpful things a trustworthy child of any age can do (my daughter started when she was not yet 2) is play with and report on the baby while you do something else. A very young baby can go in a carrier or swing, and an older baby can go in a playpen or on the floor to be entertained by an older sibling. You should obviously always keep them close by and make sure the area is fully baby-proof, and discuss the rules with your older child. My daughter was kind of exceptional in that she was able to communicate in full sentences and had no jealousy or hostility toward her brother at 19 months, you must base your judgement on your knowledge of your own child.
An older child can help out even more, giving bottles (if you bottle feed) or helping an older baby eat finger foods, reading to the baby, etc., but don't underestimate the value of having someone who has unlimited time and energy to keep the baby entertained. Praise and reward the older sibling for helping. The reward doesn't have to be extravagant. When I was 8 I took care of my brother while my mom made dinner, did laundry, made baby food and such. I loved to make up silly songs to make him laugh, and she rewarded me with the title of "Junior Mom" and weekly trips to the library.
I agree with below, as soon as possible, let them hold the new baby(with your help of course) and get them to fetch things like diapers and wipes, Ask them to help with diaper disposal, ask them to make their new baby laugh ( you will be surprised what will do it... my daughter who is just coming up on a year started laughing with her brother, who is 2.5. first because he jumped up and down, while saying "boom boom" lol...) she still finds him the light in her little life. and he loves his baby so much. He loves to do things for her, like fetch her toys and bottles or clothes...just getthem involved from a very young age... then there shouldnt be too much disruption :)
I have a step daughter who is six and she was five when her sister was born. My step daughter did wonderful by helping feed her when I would need to get something done around the house. My step daughter really helps a lot and now that the little one is little over a year old she would rather see big sis than me.