Expanding your family by two tiny feet is one of the most exciting things that can happen to you and your family, but some members maybe a little less excited than others and won’t be afraid to show it.
Yup, we’re talking about older siblings. It can be hard for your first child to accept that they will no longer be the baby and that their time in the spotlight will now be split with somebody else who might need more attention from time to time.
The transition can be difficult for parents and children alike, so here is how you can prepare your first child for a sibling.
One of the most important things to do is never underestimate your child’s ability to understand and grasp concepts if explained simply and respectfully. Children are often much wiser than we assume them to be.
Speak to your child about the fact that they will be getting a new sibling by explaining that you are pregnant and they are going to be the older sibling. Ask your child if they have any questions and answer honestly according to their age.
It is important that you allow your first child to feel as though they will be a valuable part of their younger sibling’s life and that they will be a person that the baby can rely on and turn to. Try to ask your child for advice about the baby when you can.
It can be as simple as asking what color the baby’s room should be or asking what they think the baby’s name should be. Giving them important roles in this way will make them excited for when the baby comes.
If you would prefer not to ask your child for advice, you can simply get them involved in the baby preparations to feel like they have done something toward preparing for the baby, thus making them more excited.
Have your child help you pack the stuffed animals into the baby’s crib or have them fold a couple of outfits if they are old enough. It will give them a sense of responsibility and pride which will help them to adjust better to having the baby around.
While your child may have had baby dolls for a while and has been playing with them, it is a good idea to start using these dolls to practice for when the new baby comes. Buy your child a doll that will help them to practice having a sibling.
Teach your child how to change the baby’s outfit and diapers and how to feed and hold a baby correctly so that they feel as though they will be able to help when the new baby arrives.
Once you have had the baby, you will undoubtedly want to celebrate your new baby and its successful delivery into the world, and you should! However, you should also throw a small celebration for your oldest child becoming an older sibling.
It could be something as simple as having a cupcake at the hospital for them or having a shirt printed that says they’re an older sibling—anything to make them feel as special as the baby on the day.