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My wife and I have a 2 year old little girl. We in the upcoming weeks will be having a new addition (another girl) added into our home. We want our 2 year old to embrace her new little sister, love her, and help take care of her.

If there is a way to avoid jealousy I am all ears.

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4 Answers 4

I don't want to discourage you, but we tried... and tried.. and our girl (18mo at the time) thought our newborn was awesome when we visited mommy in the hospital the day after. She did not think it was awesome that the baby was coming home with us. And that mommy spent all day with the new baby. There was no consoling her at all.

She was completely upset for about 3-4 weeks. But very soon, she started playing with her baby doll much more than she had before. Things got much more involved when she would do to the baby what mommy did to our newborn. She'd put the baby doll in the car seat, wrap baby in blankets, rock baby to sleep just like mommy rocked our newborn. And that helped a lot.

And now, 3 months later, she's an absolutely wonderful big sister. She gives little sister a hug and a kiss at night, and is appropriately gentle when doing so (which she isn't with most things...)

The key thing was consistency: first, never letting her feel that she wasn't loved too. That it was okay for mommy and daddy to love both her and the newborn. Second, to make sure that the newborn was around -alot-. Make it very clear that she's not going anywhere just because you don't like it. If you want to have no newborn, you'd have to have no mommy too, because mommy has to be with the newborn. And third was making sure that she was able to be involved. If we could have an opportunity for her to help, we did. Sometimes we'd even invent things. Maybe we didn't need the blanket to go over the car seat today because the weather was good, but we'd ask her to get it anyway. So she'd scurry across the room and get the blanket, and she'd even put it on the carseat (sometimes better than others :).

So I don't think you will necessarily be able to avoid jealousy. For us, instead of trying to avoid it, we tried (and succeeded in) breaking through it. Your milage may vary, but try not to fall into the trap that because she doesn't take kindly to the newborn for the first couple weeks that it will always be that way.

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2  
The only thing I'd add to that is to find time to do some things just with her. Some occasional 1-on-1 attention will go a long way towards making her feel like her place in your life/hearts is still largely the same. –  Brian White Oct 10 '12 at 0:25
    
I will add that. We did make a specific effort to do that too. That includes mommy-girl time, daddy-girl time, and mommy-daddy-girl time (grandma and grandpa helped a lot for this last one!) –  corsiKa Oct 10 '12 at 1:48

We had seven daughters, one son, and it never crossed our minds... or at least it never crossed mine... to worry about how the older siblings were going to react to the new arrivals. When the baby came home we engaged the older children to help mom and dad take care of their little sister and they were delighted to be treated as big girls and help. Although one of our girls (now seventeen) helped a little bit too much by grabbing her newborn sister (now fifteen) by her foot and pulling her out of her crib like a carrot. Repeatedly. For what it's worth that newborn now helps her twenty-three y.o. sister in college with her English homework.

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+1 for the helping aspect. I have an only child, so I can't speak from parenting experience here, but from my experience with student families and with the families of my multitude of siblings and siblings in-law as well as my own childhood, making the older sibling a part of the care of the younger helps a lot even if it doesn't fully eradicate all jealousy. –  balanced mama Nov 9 '12 at 12:06

A bit of jealousy and rivalry is unavoidable, and I'm not going to add anything to @corsiKa's excellent post. What I will say is that trying to foster some independence in the time you have left is a good step as the more confident your child is the easier it is for you and your child. Encourage your child to do things on her own a bit and praise her for it, that way it will be less of a shock when she suddenly must do things on her own.

I think some books about being a big sister would be a good idea, they help your child understand more about what is going to happen.

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Take some individual time with your 2 year old every day. Tell her that you love her and that after the baby comes you will still love her.

Let her know that she's going to have a new important job of being a sister, and tell her that being a sister means loving the new baby too and teaching her things. Ask your two year old what she wants to teach her little sister. Help her start bonding now, and let her have some input on important decisions, like what toys the new baby will need.

It is also very important to listen to any concerns that your two year old has about the new baby. She may have fears about not being your baby anymore. Listen to her, and make time for her, and help her develop her identity as a sister.

Books like Best Ever Big Sister, by Karen Katz http://books.google.com/books/about/Best_Ever_Big_Sister.html?id=ineRAQAACAAJ are also helpful.

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