Six Ways to Prepare Your Child for a New SiblingJanuary 25, 2019
Your over-the-moon excitement about the newest family member may not match your older child’s point of view. For them, a baby is an unknown concept. Something mummy and daddy are constantly talking about, while he/she used to be their number one topic. An older sibling may be feeling neglected and less valuable even before the baby comes home. In order to help them go through this, here are six practical tips to help them rejoice at the baby’s arrival.
Let them talk
Whatever the big brother or sister has to say about the little one, hear him/her out. Let them verbalize their concerns. Of course, they may not be able to sum up everything nicely as adults, so you definitely can’t hear them say: “I have grave doubts you are going to push me aside the moment the baby goes through the door”, but do let them express their opinions and fears in their own language. Show that you are present and provide comfort. They will feel greatly appreciated that you listened to their “I’m not sure if I want a baby” talk and comforted them, instead of straightforwardly banning such sentences.
Mind your language
While mentioning the baby (which you’ll be doing daily, hourly…), try to avoid using “my”. This should always be “our baby”, “your little brother/sister”, or even “your baby”. Entice the feeling of possession, as this will help them connect with the baby and create a positive association.
Get them involved
There are so many ways you can make your older child participate in the activities prior to childbirth, which will make them feel very much important and needed:
- Discuss the baby names together. Hopefully, you’ll like the suggestions.
- Talk to the baby – encourage the child to talk, sing or read to the baby in your belly.
- Doctor’s appointment – take your older child with you when you go to your regular ultrasound check-ups. Making them a part of your regular routine will make them feel happy, especially since they will get the idea just how important these appointments are. Of course, a child needn’t know that you are going to prenatal ultrasound to check for any irregularities, but they will sense this is extremely important for the family, particularly when you come radiant after an examination. So, let them join in the fun.
- Prepare the nursery – let them choose the colours for the new room, as well as the new toys, or which one of their toys they would like to give the baby as a present. Praises should abound.
- Pack the bag – allow them to help you with packing the bag you’re carrying to the hospital and say how this act of help is very much valued. In addition, put one of their photos in the bag, and say it belongs there with your bare necessities.
Down the memory lane
This will be an excellent period to remind yourselves and your child about his/her early years, and with how much love you prepared everything for their arrival, too. Go through the baby photos together and focus on all the things babies do. It will be easier for them to connect to the baby if they know they have already done the same things – cried and slept a lot, wore diapers (and filled them up, too), and generally needed a lot of love and care.
Bearing in mind how much you are going to be occupied when the little bundle of joy finally arrives, this is perhaps one of the most demanding tasks. Firstly, you need to pick a person who is going to stay with your child while you and your partner are at the hospital. Preferably, it should be your child’s favourite – a grandparent, an aunt, or whoever your child is extremely fond of.
Secondly, since you are going to be super busy taking care of your baby girl/boy, your elder child may get upset due to the lack of mum’s attention, which used to be solely reserved for them. For this reason, it’s essential for your partner to get involved as much as possible if they haven’t so far, but not only after the baby arrives. The process should start during pregnancy. It will be nice for the child to have some kind of a constant in the family, such as setting game time with one of the parents, due to the fact that the whole family life will be changed.
The arrival of a new sibling may not be that troublesome after all. Apply our tips, and your child will be hardly waiting to meet their little sibling.