The expectant arrival of a new baby requires many adjustments and changes, both for the parents involved and the rest of the family. How do you help prepare your child for a new brother or sister?
- Involve your child early on in your pregnancy. Franklin Goose employee Amber had her son Cruz carry the pregnancy test to her husband to tell him that there was going to be a Baby #3.
- Start preparing for your new baby’s arrival by setting up the nursery as soon as possible. Have your child help you put things away like clothes and blankets.
- Take your child to a couple of your doctor’s appointments. Let them listen to the baby’s heartbeat. If you decide to find out the sex of the baby, let your child in on the excitement. You can even make a game of it, guessing whether the baby will be a boy or a girl. You can also make a game of discussing what the baby will look like.
- Talk to your child everyday about the new baby. Read books together about babies and siblings. Explain to him or her that the new baby will be their best friend. Discuss their role as the older sibling to love and teach the new baby.
- Encourage your child to ask questions about the baby. Ask your child questions, too! And when he or she asks, “Where do babies come from?” keep in mind they aren’t asking you for The Talk, but they are asking you to acknowledge their curiosity and desire to learn. Be honest and explain what is happening inside of Mommy.
- Show your child the sonogram and go through the weeks discussing the baby’s progress. How big is the baby this week? What does it look like? When the baby kicks or moves, allow your child to feel the movement.
- Encourage your child to interact with babies. Set up play dates with other families and help your child with how to properly hold, feed, and even diaper a baby!
- You can also purchase your child a doll to practice on. Amber got both her boys dolls to play with, plus a toy stroller and diapers.
- Make plans for your child’s care when it’s time for you to deliver. Go over these plans with your child early on so that when the time comes they are not caught off guard.
- After delivery, allow your child to see the new baby and to hold him or her. Do not act nervous while your child is holding their new sibling but encourage them.
- You can also get your first child a Big Brother/Sister Gift. When my sister was born, my parents got me a baby doll. (For a while after that, I was convinced that my sister stopped by a toy store to buy me a gift before she was born!)
- When you and the new baby arrive home, have your partner hold the baby so that you can give your older child a hug immediately, allowing them to subconsciously know that you are still accessible.
- Have your older child give their new sibling a tour of the house and introduce him or her to your family life. Ask for your child’s help as you care for Baby. Repeatedly explain to your older child that you need their help in teaching and caring for the baby.
Above all, remind your older child that the new baby loves them and that both children are special and important to each other and to you.
How did you prepare your child for a new sibling?