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Raising North Dakota: ‘What About Me?’

Raising North Dakota: ‘What About Me?’

Bringing a new baby home is an exciting time. But amid all that excitement, there’s often an older sibling who may feel a little left out. In this week’s Raising North Dakota, Alysia Huck tells us about a class that will help prepare them for all the changes that lay ahead.

All eyes are on baby, admiring that sweet face and oohing and aahing over the gurgly coo’s. But there’s often a sibling nearby left wondering “What About Me?” Dimitry Chavez had a feeling her four-year-old son Joshua would be one of those children. He was the baby of the family, with one older sister Illiana.

Chavez knew she had to prepare both kids for little Khalia’s arrival. That’s when she discovered the “What About Me?” sibling class offered by Mid Dakota Clinic. Dimitry Chavez, mother of three says, “I would recommend the class because it does show them that they will get the attention and shows them what they can do to help.”

Marie Jensen is a Registered Nurse and Nurse Educator, and she knows how vital it is to keep older siblings involved, stick with a routine and give them special attention daily.

The class helps prepare kids for what’s to come.

Jensen explains, “We kind of warm them up to anticipate what that event will look like.” The kids get to visit the labor and delivery room, see all of the equipment, and finally a stop by the mom/baby room where they will rest and recover.

But the class goes beyond the tour.

“We talk about what the kids are feeling, how they’re feeling, what anticipating,” says Jensen. Parents also learn what they can do to help an older child feel special.

Jensen explains, “If aunty or uncle or grandma or grandpa coming, or friends, ask them before they come like ‘could you just make an effort first to give attention to and note something about Johnny before baby?”‘ It’s also beneficial to remind older siblings that they were babies once, too.

“Showing them baby pictures of when they were little, and other people holding them, and just the smiles on people’s faces,” says Jensen. So how did the class help Joshua and Illiana?

“The class went great,” Chavez says. “They got to change diapers and take care of the baby and stuff, and it seemed to help a lot because they help with her now, and they always want to play with her and always want her attention.” One last tip - don’t forget to set aside one-on-one time for your older siblings, no matter how busy the days get.

The ‘What About Me’ sibling class is for children 3 to 8 years old and is held at CHI St. Alexius Health in Boniface Auditorium.

Alysia Huck Reporting