Bringing home a new baby can be an extremely stressful time for a family, whether it’s your first rodeo or not. Our routine gets messed up, we worry about our baby eating and sleeping enough, and the noise level and tense feeling in the home can put everyone on edge. In addition, if you have other children already, you probably worry about them getting enough attention and being able to manage their schedules and activities while taking care of a newborn. And don’t forget the reaction of the older siblings in the house—that can lead to some very emotional responses.
So, what can we do to keep our home calm and our family balanced during such a life-altering event? Here are some methods to try:
While I recognize that this is not an option for everyone, asking for help can be a lifesaver during this stressful time. Maybe you have a grandparent or other relative or a close friend who can help out around the house or tend to your other children while you are busy with the baby. If possible, consider hiring a baby nurse to take care of the baby through the night while you get the chance to rest and/or to help out during the day as well. Some baby nurses are local and some are travel nurses that you can find through highly reputable agencies. Hiring a baby nurse when our second child was born was one of the best investments we made. When I don’t get enough sleep, my mental and physical health suffers, so I was able to be a better mom to both of my kids by having that extra help through the night.
Create A Soothing Environment
During such a stressful time, making some simple changes to your environment can shift how everyone feels. One way to do this is to play some soothing music, such as nature sounds, light jazz, or calming classical music. Research indicates that there are psychological and medical benefits of music including increased happiness and reduced stress. Next, consider decorating with colors known to be soothing, such as hues of blue and green. According to color psychology experts, blue calms the mind and body and minimizes feelings of anxiety. The color green promotes a serene and calming environment and is associated with health, healing, and well-being; soothes the body and mind; and reduces anxiety. You can also add elements of nature to your home that help reduce stress like plants, water, and images of animals.
Clear The Clutter
Believe it or not, the clutter building up since the baby arrived isn’t just stressing you out—it is stressing out the entire family because the sheer existence of clutter is linked to stress and anxiety. In fact, according to a study by UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families (CELF), the amount of stress family members experience at home is directly proportional to the amount of stuff their family has accumulated. Clutter makes us feel overwhelmed, distracted, and frustrated. It signals our brain that we have more work to do, which only makes us feel more uneasy. It can also make us feel guilty and like a failure for not being able to keep up. Learn how you can get your kids involved with cleaning up the clutter so your whole family can feel calmer and happier.
Choose Fun, Relaxing Activities For Your Kids
One way to make sure the older children don’t feel left out or jealous of the new baby is to keep them busy with some fun, relaxing activities. There are so many to choose from, no matter what their age. For example, keep them focused on creative projects like painting, coloring, drawing, sculpting Play-Doh or clay, and other crafts. Sign them up for music or art lessons, or a sports activity or team. Check out this resource for how kids can connect online through art, music, nature, and fitness so they can stay occupied while you are busy with the baby. All of these positive distractions will help them feel special, learn new skills, gain confidence, and focus on their own experiences beyond the new baby. If they seem stressed, you can also turn to some calming activities like yoga, mindful coloring books, and even meditation for kids. And if you really want to give them a special treat, give them a relaxing massage and be sure to hug them tons!
How do you keep your home calm?