Bonding with a new child is an important step in becoming a family, especially when an adopted child is joining a family who already has biological children. You may be excited to swoop your new child into your arms and have them join the family, but a big mistake you can make is rushing things.
According to Dr. Scott Haltzman, MD from Brown University, "Introducing children into an adopted family isn't a one-step event, it's a process that involves going through a series of phases."
Change can be hard for everyone, but children are resilient with the right support. Here are a few things you can do to ensure that the process is a positive one when encouraging your biological and adopted children to bond:
When adopting a child, the "Surprise!" approach with your biological children is not the best option. Prepare your biological child for the arrival of the new addition to the family by reading children's books with your child about adoption, reinforcing your biological child's importance in the process, and more to help reduce the likelihood of resentment about the big change to the family.
To help build emotional connections, have your newest child and biological child spend time together on their own. After an initial introduction, plan a special play date, a trip to the park, or activity they can enjoy and lay the foundation to building a sibling relationship.
All parents want to make their children feel special, and spending one-on-one time with each the adopted child and the biological child is key to reinforcing that message. Siblings do not always need to do things together. This will help give emphasis to each child's role as a key member of the evolving family.
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