A new bundle of joy is on the way! Adding another member to the family is thrilling and a little intimidating. You put all this love and effort into your first born, reminiscing on the hard times and the whimsical memories you’ve shaped and now another is on their way. You may wonder How to prepare your child for a sibling?
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Pondering on this, it may cross your mind that your first child is accustomed to receiving all your attention and not having to share you or their things when at home. Having friends and family over is one thing, sharing a dwelling with another child can be a confusing time for a little one. The outcome will vary from one child to another and age is a factor as well.
Our family did our best to prepare for number two. Personally, I believe the change went smoothly and we all settled quickly. I want to share with you the path we took in preparation for baby number two in hopes it will be beneficial to you too. Here are a few ideas to help you and your family, prepare for your new addition (or additions).
Get Your Child Involved
No matter the age, I find it’s important to include your child in activities related to preparation for the new baby. Even a small child can help pick out a new toy for the baby in the store. They may want it for themselves, simply explain to them it’s for your new sibling. Ask them what they think the baby will like and state that they can give it to the baby when he/she arrives.
When it comes to prepping for baby, have your child participate in home. Include them by asking, “Do you think this is a good place for your siblings crib?” or “What color blanket should we get?” Giving your child some say so in these changes can help them feel connected to the transition and give them confidence in the days to come. Our son was so proud of himself when our second arrived and we placed the new baby in the crib with the blanket he had chosen. He exclaimed, “Baby brother! I picked out that blanket just for you!”
Keep Your Child Informed
All throughout the duration of my pregnancy, I informed my son of the stages the baby was developing and when mommy needed to see the baby doctor. He really enjoyed the updates and it reflected a confidence in him as though he was in the loop. When the baby developed into a new stage, I would brief my son. Enlighten your child of the baby’s size and that the baby can now hear them or can see light.
Grab a piece of fruit or veggie that is the baby’s current size and state to your child, “This is how big your sibling is”. They will get a kick out of it and its helps them visualize the baby’s growth. From a pea to a watermelon, your child will have a better understanding of the baby’s stages. When your baby has developed to hear in the womb, tell your child. Ask them to sing a song to them or tell the baby a story. This encourages a connection early on for your child and the new baby.
Plan Activities That Include Your Child And The Bun In The Oven
There are various activities out there to embrace your baby bump. One of my favorites is Belly Painting . This is a great one for children of all ages and makes for a memorable and cherished photo opportunity. You can make your own edible paint if your child is younger and still has a tendency to put everything in their mouth. Otherwise grab some natural non toxic paint and you and your child can create a big beautiful sun, hand prints, a Michelangelo or whatever your heart’s desire on that baby bump. Take pictures, listen to music and really connect with all your kids during this time. These are moments to cherish forever.
Present Your Child With A Gift From The Baby
This was an idea I took out of the book from dear friend. Go find a small gift that you can present to your child that is from the new baby before you deliver. A new action figure, a hot wheels car or princess wand is perfect. There is no need to go all out and spend a fortune. Your child will remember that their one car is from their new baby and appreciate it as a gift from their new sibling. With all the new gear coming in for the new baby, it’s a good idea to flip the script and have the baby give a gift to their big brother or sister.
Let Them Help
You have arrived at home and now it’s time to juggle two kids rather than one. There will be some challenging days moving forward. When your hands are full, the baby is crying, the phone rings, your oldest is insisting his milk is not cold enough and their hungry, you haven’t even had a chance to brush your teeth yet and your morning coffee feels as difficult to obtain as the holy grail, it can be enough to make your head spin. In this case it can be easy to put off your oldest ones wishes while you try to change and calm the baby.
Rather than telling them to wait, ask them to help. Let them get you a new diaper for the baby, hand you the wet wipes and diaper rash cream. Ask the which outfit the baby should wear today. Once the baby is settled, have your child sit with the baby and request that they sing the baby a song or tell a story while you make your coffee and breakfast too. This helps baby to recognize their older sibling and establish a relationship that down the road will help soothe the baby during his fussy times.
These ideas greatly helped our child to get accustomed to the idea of a new baby in the house. So far, there has been no jealous temperament and no tantrums since the new baby’s arrival. I hope that sharing the steps we took can help you too. I would love to hear your stories, please feel free to share your tips and tricks!
If you enjoyed this read you may also find this interesting as well. Check out this Newborn Care Guide for all your need to know when baby comes home.