How to Tame the Green Monster—Jealous Siblings

Read about being a mom of 12. Our 'Supermom' shares her wise parenting advice.

There's no way to avoid jealousy

As you near the end of your pregnancy, you might begin to wonder about how the new arrival will affect your toddler. In an effort to seek advice, you will consult your childcare books. The books all tend to say the same thing: there's no way to avoid jealousy. The best thing to do is to allow your child healthy outlets for her feelings.

Avoiding the green-headed monster

Here are some tips that will provide you with the tools to cope when the green-headed monster rears its ugly head:

Help your child verbalize his feelings. Instead of hitting the baby or taking away his toy, teach your child to use his words. For example, he can say, "I am so angry that you came to live in my house. I am angry that my mother spends so much time with you."

Encourage your child to help with baby care. This can be a small task for a toddler. For example, you might ask him to bring you a clean diaper. For an older child, helping him to feel involved will make a big difference in how he sees the baby's place in your home. An older child might be taught how to burp the baby, for instance. The act of holding the infant will foster closeness, helping your older child to bond with your new baby.

Buy each of your children a gift. Before you deliver, store the gifts where your children won't find them. As soon as you arrive home from the hospital, give out the gifts. This lets your children know that each one of them is unique and special in your eyes. It also sets the scene for the children to see the homecoming as a happy occasion for the entire family and not just for mom and dad.

Be patient. It will take time for your children to love the new baby. Let your child verbalize his feelings about the new baby and as hard as you might find the task, give him your sympathy instead of shocked disapproval.