Prepare Your Child for the New Baby
As a parent, there’s a good chance that you will have to deal with explaining to your child about the new baby sometime in the next few years. It can be a nerve-wracking experience, but it doesn’t have to be. With some preparation, you can make the transition as smooth as possible for your child.
Ways to Prepare Your Child for the New Baby
Prepare Your Child for the New Baby
Here are a few tips on how to do just that:
1) Talk openly and honestly with your child about what’s happening.
Let them know that there will be changes coming their way but explain everything they will understand. As much as possible, try to avoid using euphemisms like “bundle of joy” or “angel.”
2) Be prepared for questions!
As your family grows, so will the demands on your time and energy. Suddenly you’ll find yourself with less sleep, more stress – and a new baby to care for! But with a bit of preparation and planning, you can help ease your child’s transition into being a big brother or sister
3) Prepare your child to be a big brother or sister
What should I say to them?
When you are pregnant with a new baby, talk about it often. Use correct terms for body parts and explain why mommy is growing a particular tummy to hold the baby. Make sure your toddler knows where the baby will grow inside of you. Let your toddler know that while you are pregnant, your body can’t do some of the things it used to be able to do before the baby- like picking them up or dancing with them. You might even want to write a note or make a drawing for the baby in their scrapbook about what they did with mommy when she wasn’t pregnant.
Show them where your baby will grow.
4) Let them help with preparing for the new baby
Although they can’t help making a sibling, they can certainly help prepare for one! For example:
- Let your toddler pick out some fabrics they like and sew a baby blanket with your toddler.
- Ask them to help you pick out some clothes for the baby.
- Let them help you fill the baby’s wardrobe. They can even help lay the baby clothes out before a nap or bedtime if they are old enough.
Depending on their age, they may enjoy doing things such as putting the clothes in a particular order, folding baby socks by color or size, laying baby onesies out to make a pattern, etc.
5) Allow them to be around the new baby
Although you may not want your toddler to hold or touch the newborn because of germs and their safety, there are many things they can do around the baby while they are still in the hospital.
They can bring the baby gifts, such as handmade drawings and cards, they can make a sign to put on your door letting people know that you need time alone with your new baby, and they can even help pick out balloons and flowers for the room.
6) Allow them to become familiar with what a newborn sound like
You can read them a book about what babies sound like or let them hear recordings of a pregnant mother’s heartbeat. You can also make a recording of your heartbeat and allow them to listen to it when they want. This will familiarize your child with the normal rhythm of a beating heart, which is different from their own.
7) Talk about your feelings towards the new baby
Explain to your child that sometimes, when people are happy, they cry. It is okay for them to feel sad when someone else gets something they want so much- like a little brother or sister.
Let them know it’s okay if they feel jealous when the new baby is brought home, but it is essential to be positive and happy for mommy.
8) Be patient with them- they may need some time
There’s no telling how your child will feel about the new baby until you bring them home. Some children are excited to become a big brother or sister, but others need some time before accepting it. Give your child some time to adjust to the new baby, but if it takes longer than expected, make sure to seek help from a counselor or therapist who can help you and your family get through this transition.
9) Spend more one-on-one time with your toddler
This is an excellent opportunity for you to spend extra time with your toddler, doing things that you know they love! You can cook a meal together, read them a favorite book or sing a particular song just for them. Make sure to talk about how excited you are about the new baby and all the beautiful changes that will be taking place in your family soon.
10) Don’t punish them for acting out
Some children may act out towards the new baby because they feel threatened or jealous that someone is taking away their parents’ attention. While this may be difficult, keep in mind that once the baby’s newness has worn off, your child will be back to their usual self very soon. It’s important to remember that it is not your child’s fault and try to be as patient as possible with them.Prepare Your Child for the New Baby.
11) Give them a job
Remember that children need to know they are important too! Assign one of your child’s toys like the ‘welcome baby toy,’ and allow them to play with it only when the baby is napping, or you are spending time with them.
12) Consider the age of your child
As you prepare for your new baby, remember that children of different ages will need to be treated differently. If you have a toddler, allow them to help as much as possible- even if it means picking out some gifts or drawing pictures for their little brother or sister. On the other hand, if you have a baby still in diapers, it may be easier to let them cry rather than deal with a dirty diaper while caring for your newborn. Prepare Your Child for the New Baby
Of course, this depends on your child’s age and personality- remember that no one knows your child better than you do!
13) To prepare Your Child for the New Baby Don’t compare them
It is common for your older child to look at the new baby and wish they were as old as their sibling, but it’s important not to compare children. Each child has a unique personality and developmental milestones to achieve, so just let them be who they are! Once you have accepted that fact, your children will learn to do the same.
14) Don’t forget one on one time with Dad
Make time for you and your partner too! If your partner is home, encourage them to take a break from all their responsibilities around the house and spend some particular time together as a couple without any distractions.
15) To Prepare Your Child for the New Baby you need to Plan ahead
Start planning for the birth of your new baby early. Make sure you have all the essential things on hand before your little one arrives so that you can spend less time running errands and more time with your older child. Remember that in most cases, two children under three will need more than 24 hours in a day- so be prepared to give each child the time they need.
16)Prepare Your Child for the New Baby Help them through the transition
Once your new little one arrives, remember that you are in charge! Assign your older child particular jobs to help, like making lunch or washing up after dinner. Don’t forget to praise them when they do an excellent job, so they know that you appreciate their help!
17) Give older children space to grieve
Remember that your older child may need time to adjust too. They may act out, be moody or even cry for no reason at all. If this is the case, try not to get too upset about it; instead, give them lots of love and attention when feeling sad.
18)To Prepare Your Child for the New Baby Answer their questions honestly
Remember that children want answers to their questions, even if they may be hard to hear! Be honest and explain things as best you can, but make sure you detail any questions that seem particularly painful for you to answer. Also, consider allowing your child a safe space- a place where they can come and talk about their feelings without being judged or criticized. Once you have done this, your child will thank you for being so open with them!
19)Prepare Your Child for the New Baby -Keep them informed
Keep your older children involved in the pregnancy process by letting them feel the baby move, visit the doctor with you and even decorate a nursery if they want to. Trust me; your children will appreciate it when they get older!
20) Remember that you are a team
Never forget that your children need both of you- even if one parent stays at home while the other works. Make sure that no matter what goes on in your family, you and your partner put aside time and check in with each other throughout the day.
21) Plan (again!)
If you know that your children will be staying at someone else’s house for a few hours, make sure to talk it through with them beforehand. Ensure everyone involved knows what time you will be picking up your child and where you can find them (just in case of emergency). Also, make sure to pack plenty of fun activities for your children so they won’t get too bored at their house or in the car on the way home!
22) Have a family meeting
If you have been lucky enough to have both parents working from home, consider calling a family meeting when your baby is a month old. This will let your children know that they are always part of the big picture, no matter how small they feel! Let your older child help you plan the forum and discuss what’s going well in the family and what needs some improvement.
Your older child may seem as though they don’t care about the new baby, but, they are just trying to come to terms with the changes that are happening. Once you understand their fears and concerns, it will be much easier to help them adjust to the birth of your new little one!
23) Get them involved
Remember that this is YOUR child too- so don’t forget to think about their needs! Involving your older child in the baby’s life will make them feel needed and more confident that you still love them even though there is a new addition to the family unit.
24) Let them hold the baby!
You may want to breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby in private, but if your older child asks to hold the baby, don’t be afraid to let them! You may find that your child is naturally having your little one carefully and supporting their neck.
25) Don’t forget about them
Many parents worry that they will lose their older child once the new baby comes home, but this isn’t true. No matter how much you love your new baby, you mustn’t forget about the older child in the family. Make sure to include them in any daily decisions and events (such as taking a trip to the beach), and make sure that they always get plenty of attention from you!
26) Give them space!
Remember that your older child is going through a time of significant change- they will need time to themselves to adjust. As always, make sure that the door is always open for them! Let them be alone when they feel quiet and give them space if they don’t want to play with you.
27) Allow some sibling rivalry
If your older child feels like they are second best to the new baby, it is okay for them to make some noise about it. A little sibling rivalry will help your children bond in the long run (if it isn’t too intense)!
28) Never say, “I wish you were never born,” or “you ruined our lives.”
Even if you feel that these things are true, it is not okay to say them aloud. Your children will think that their feelings don’t matter and could develop low self-esteem as a result.
We hope you found these tips helpful. There’s always more to learn, but we think this is a solid start for any new parents looking to prepare their children for the arrival of a sibling.
Let us know how it goes and share your advice in the comments section below!