Habitot Children's Museum

October 1 - March 31
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 4:30
9:30 - 4:30
9:30 - 4:30
This is the last month of our
fall-winter hours. Beginning
in April, we will be closed on Sundays through September.

Parents' Picks Winner at Parents Connect
Best Museum for Little Kids,
San Francisco Bay Area

Best of the Gay
San Francisco Bay Area

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Habitot is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization that relies on community support

Habitot Children's Museum

Habitot Children's Museum
2065 Kittredge Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 647-1111

Parenting Q&A
Parenting Question of the Month Now that the new baby is here, how can I help my children get along?
Parenting Q&A There are plenty of resources available for ways to help prepare your child before the birth of a new brother or sister (see below), but less about what to do to ease the transition in the weeks and months (and sometimes years) after the baby is born. That is, when reality sets in and any initial excitement the older child may have had for the new baby has worn off and he or she might start asking questions like "when are you going to give the baby back to her real mommy" or "I am ready for the baby to go now.” This happens just as parents are thoroughly sleep-deprived, distracted and exhausted trying to adjust to the workload of caring for two or more.

While an unusual child will remain happy and contented with a new sibling, most children have strong feelings, either negative ones toward the baby or resentful ones towards the parents, or both. As time consuming as it is to do, these can be largely mitigated by focusing plenty of genuine and positive attention on your older child. Your older child needs reassurance and is asking you, “do I still matter and how much?” Give generously to this child until he or she is reassured: spend as much playtime as you can with just this child, talk to your child about what is going on at school or preschool and about the fun times you have spent together, compliment this child in front of others, especially when he or she is being a good big brother or sister, and tell this child how much you love him or her.

When your older child is rougher than you would like with the baby, try to have a light touch in redirecting his or her behavior, and avoid tongue-lashings that can cause deep wounds and resentment towards the baby. The earlier and stronger you restore your child’s confidence about his or her place in the family, the quicker this child will move away from all those difficult sibling behaviors. As the baby grows, and presents new challenges for an older sibling (like intruding on his/her space/toys/room), instead of scolding your older child when he pushes the baby away, protect him from the baby. Second-born children can be extraordinarily gifted in getting others to engage with them, so don’t worry, they will play together soon enough. All along, present lots of opportunities for your older sibling to feed, bathe, read to and play with the baby. Lifelong sibling friendships can be built on the smallest of moments.

Parenting Resources

Books and Articles for Adults:

Sibling Rivalry. University of Michigan Health System (2009). http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/yourchild/sibriv.htm

Dealing with Sibling Rivalry. Parenting Like A Super Nanny (2006). http://www.parentsurvival.org/blog/_archives/2006/1/17/1721096.html

Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together. Faber, A. & Mazlish, E. (1987). W.W. Norton & Company. New York, NY.

Helping Your Child Adjust to a New Sibling. BabyCenter, November (2007). http://www.babycenter.com/0_helping-your-child-adjust-to-a-new-sibling-overview_3636620.bc

Helping Siblings Adjust to the New Baby. Dixon, S. (2002). Bright Futures in Practice: Mental Health-Volume II. Arlington, VA: National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health. http://www.brightfutures.org/mentalhealth/pdf/families/in/siblings.pdf

Take That Baby Back! Preparing Your Child for A New Sibling. Lipman, Blythe (2009).http://www.momcentral.com/pregnancy/take-that-baby-back-preparing-your-child-for-a-new-sibling.html

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