Preparing your children for a new sibling can be a time of great emotional stress but also a great opportunity. Bringing home your new arrival will be a bit different when you have older children in the mix. Their thoughts, feelings, and behavioral changes must be considered. The best thing you can do is prepare your child ahead of time and remind them often of your love for them. Keep reading for more tips on how you can best encourage a healthy sibling bond.
It is recommended to begin talking to your children about the new baby as soon as possible. This gives them plenty of time to prepare and begin to get excited. Some children may need extra time to process their emotions and sort out their mixed feelings about becoming a big brother or sister. Explain to your child that their new sibling is growing and won’t be ready to be born for several months.
Minimize Other Changes
Try to handle any other major life transitions, such as potty training or sleep training, well before the new baby arrives. This will help minimize the stress on both you and your older children. If you aren’t confident that you will be able to assist your child through these transitions in time for your new arrival, you can also delay them until a few months after the baby is born, when they have had time to adjust. The day you bring your new little one home from the hospital is not the day you want to push big brother or sister to sleep in their own bed for the first time.
When you are preparing your baby’s nursery, attending doctor’s appointments, or making other plans for your new arrival, try to include your older children as much as possible in age-appropriate ways. There are a variety of books and video resources designed especially to prepare kids for the arrival of a new sibling. Some hospitals and birthing centers even offer sibling preparation classes that can help your little one prepare for the big change.
Take Time To Listen
Some children may have a lot to say about their feelings towards the new arrival. When your children open up to you, reassure them of your love for them and validate their emotions. Younger children and toddlers may also express their frustration by acting out. It is important to keep an eye out for behavioral and mood changes and be ready to address them lovingly.
After Baby Arrives
Making the shift from one child to two, or from two to three, etc., means that there are more people’s needs for you to consider. Once the baby is born, seek out ways that you can include your older children in caring for their new sibling. They can help by bringing you a clean diaper or by trying to make their new little brother or sister laugh when they are crying.
In addition, try to keep their existing routine as consistent as possible. Make sure to schedule plenty of 1-on-1 time with each child so that they feel secure in the love from both parents.
If you feel that they need some extra help, speak to your child’s pediatrician in Arvada, Westminster & Broomfield about counselling and other resources to help them adjust.