Baby on the way?
Many parents worry about how to prepare their older child for the anticipated arrival of their new sibling. Lots of these parents worry that their older child won’t understand a new baby coming home or fear that they will feel left out. This post gives you 10 ways to not only prepare them for the arrival of your newborn, but also ensure that they won’t be feeling left out either.
1) Talk About The Baby Coming
Shortly after you’ve made the announcement to family and friends, be sure to share the news with your child that they have a brand new sibling on the way. Talk about how awesome it will be to have a brother or sister and all the things your child can teach the baby to do when they’re here. Be sure to mention how excited you are for them that they have a new sibling on the way.
2) Involve Your Older Child
Do you need to pick between some paint colours for the nursery? Have your older child help you make that choice. Or perhaps head out on a shopping trip and have them pick out an outfit or two that you will dress the baby in soon after birth. If your child is old enough, they may be able to help dress their new sibling in the outfit of choice.
3) Ensure That You Aren’t Leaving Them Behind
A lot of parents worry about how their children will react when it’s time to head to the hospital and then stay for a day or two. Set up a plan for contact with your child for your stay in the hospital. This may include a couple phone calls to ensure them that you’ll be seeing them soon or perhaps a FaceTime call so they can see their new sibling
4) Gift From The Baby
If you plan on having your child come into the hospital to meet their new sibling, a good idea is to have a small gift for your older child that is from the baby. A great gift idea is something that will keep their attention during feedings and diaper changes for your new little one. Something simple like a colouring book and crayons or a little more high tech like a leap pad are great ideas.
5) Have Them Be Your “Super Assistant”
When you give it a cool name like that, asking your child to hand you diapers sounds much more exciting. Don’t expect that they’re always up for the task but if they give you any sort of assistance be sure to let them know how awesome of a job they did!
6) Ask Your Guests To Say Hello To Your Older Child First
In those first few days, people can hardly wait to meet and greet the new baby but sometimes, guests can get caught up in all the excitement and mistakenly not give as much attention to your older child. Instead have your guests greet your older child first and rave about excited they are about your older child being “promoted” to big sister/brother. This can have your child feeling excited too and wanting to bring the guest over to show off their new sibling.
7 )Special Outings Or Alone Time
Consider bringing your older child along when you have some errands to run. You can also have your partner or doula take your newborn for a little while while you spend some quality alone time with your older child. If your partner normally handles bedtime, switch it up and snuggle into bed with them for a few extra books. They will appreciate this time with you.
8) Letting Baby Know You Need To Take Care Of Your Older Child Too
How ofter do we find ourselves saying, “Just one minute sweetie, Mommy needs to do this for the baby first.” Depending on the age of your older child, they won’t always understand that they need to hang on and there for, feelings of jealously can arise. When your toddler is asking for a drink, if you’re able, put the baby down and tell her, “Mommy will be right back sweetheart, I need to take care of your brother.” This can make them feel special too.
9) Have Them Feed Baby
If your baby is drinking from a bottle, have your older child assist with feedings. This can be as simple as allowing them to help you hold the bottle or you helping them hold baby during a feed.
10) Have Your Older Child Make “The Call”
Depending on the age of your child, have them help you or your partner make the call to let family and friends know the baby has arrived. Make a big deal out of it and let them know that they are the one who gets to tell everyone about baby’s arrival. This may be just as simple as handing them the phone at the beginning of the call to say, “My brother/sister is here!” And passing the phone back to you or your partner so the person on the other end can get all the details.
We hope this list has given you some ideas on how you can prepare your older child for the arrival of their new sibling. If you’ve found it helpful, pass it along for someone else who may need it.