Congratulations on the next baby?
The arrival of your new baby will mean some big changes for everyone and although parents might feel ready (or as ready as one can ever be), siblings might not share the same excitement. Not only do they have to share their house, their playroom and their toys, they have to share mom and dad too! No matter your child’s age, helping them understand what is going to happen, is a good way to prepare for their sibling’s arrival.
Prepare your child(ren) ahead of time, not too early though as children have ZERO concept of time. Read age appropriate books check out (https://www.fatherly.com/play/best-books-new-siblings/ or google books about new siblings), show them sonogram pictures, let them feel the baby move, sing to the baby, include them in nursery set up, put clothes in the drawers or diapers away. Siblings play a special role in a new baby’s life, so don’t leave your child out of planning and preparing and if old enough, let them help with some decisions. Some tips to try….
Tip 1– when possible, get organized before the baby is born. This may be challenging but the more you can do before the arrival, the better. Pack your bag and baby’s diaper bag, make plans for siblings and pets, clean, make meals for the freezer, stock up the pantry and fridge, etc
Tip 2– talk to your child about the changes that will be happening once the baby arrives. Tell them that babies cry, sleep and eat a lot, plus need lots of diaper changes. Explain to them that babies like to be held, share stories or show pictures of them being held and snuggled when they were a baby. Reassure them that although the baby needs lots of attention, there will still be plenty of time and love for them.
Tip 3- Let your child pick out a special gift for the baby, maybe a new book or toy, or a photo of the them to put in the baby’s room. You can also pick out something special for your child as a gift from the baby.
Tip 4- Give your child a new “role” to play for once the baby arrives and practice with them being a “big helper”. Play a game with them by asking for them to go bring you a diaper, a burp cloth, a book, rattle or a blanket. Let them help pick out outfits for the day once the baby arrives.
Tip 5-If possible, bring them to a prenatal appointment and let them hear the baby’s heart beat or see the baby on an ultrasound. If not a possibility, put a picture of the sonogram in your child’s room or record the baby’s heart beat and put it in a teddy bear. If you have never heard of this before check out https://bearegards.com/collections/heartbeat-bears-and-womb-beats-companion-bears-1
Tip 6- Prior to delivery and/or right after baby comes home is not the best time to start potty training, sleep training, transitioning from bottle to cup, take a pacifier or blanket away or to enroll your child in something that means they will have to be away from you.
Try to stick to a routine as well, kids thrive with consistency. Keep nap and bed times as scheduled. If they are in daycare, school or another program, sports or activities, keep them participating and ask for help from other parents with transportation. Consistency will help make your child’s adjustment easier.
Part 2 will address more tips on how to make the initial introduction between sibling and new baby, sibling behavior, expectations for parents and how to set your family up for success when the family expands. Check it out at http://www.yourfamilysjourney.com