Preparing the Family for a New Baby
If you already have kids, you might be familiar with the uncertainty surrounding how you will introduce a new baby into the family. Firstborns are often the center of attention in the family. They are used to being the star of everyone’s attention and can sometimes struggle with the idea of later sharing that attention with someone else.
However, it can be a smooth transition if you plan it out carefully. Here are some things you can do to prepare older siblings for a new baby sibling.
Tell them way beforehand
Experts say the more time your child has to become familiar with the idea of the sibling, the better they’ll feel about it. You can wait until you start to show to tell them, or you can tell them when you’re experiencing symptoms like morning sickness so your child doesn’t feel anxious about what’s happening.
Involve them in the preparation
If you involve your child in the preparation, they’ll feel less jealous about it all. Ask them if they want to buy a toy for the new baby or if they want to help you set up the nursery. You can even ask them to choose the color for the nursery and help you paint it.
Talk to them about what they want to do with the new baby once they arrive, and ask them about what kind of games or activities they would want to do with their new sibling. Once they feel involved in the process, they won’t feel like they’re being left out of it.
Tell them all the great things about having a sibling, but be realistic about it
Try to sell them on the idea of having a sibling. Talk about how cute the baby will be and how they will have someone else in the house to play with. But be realistic about it and keep them informed about how the baby will need a lot of attention and time from mommy, and they need to be okay with sharing her with the baby.
Answer any questions they might have about the new baby
Constantly ask them how they feel about having a baby sibling. Answer any questions they have so they feel more informed and less anxious about the whole process.
As you’re nearing the due date, tell your child about your stay in the birth center
When your due date is near, tell your child about how mommy will need to go to a place for a while to bring the baby into the world. Inform them about their living arrangements beforehand so that, when the time comes, they don’t feel scared about what’s happening and can actually be excited about welcoming the baby into their home.
Expect a little regression
A lot of older children undergo a little regression once the baby comes around to gain some attention or just to imitate child-like behaviors. Even if they’re toilet trained, they might start to have accidents. Or if they’re already trained to eat by themselves, they might refuse to do it later.
This is completely normal and resolves on its own after some time. Just be patient with them and try not to scold them for it.
Involve your older child in the baby’s routine to nurture a bond between them
Try to involve your child in the baby’s routine by incorporating activities they can both take part in. You can do meal time together or do bedtime reading together while you’re putting the baby to sleep. This might be a little difficult in the initial few months, but with time, you’ll be able to establish a routine that allows you to spend time with all your children.
Overall, just remember that you’re doing the best you can, and everything will eventually fall into place!