Preparing for a new child is exciting, but your current little ones may not be as thrilled initially. If you only have one child, then a baby can cause some jealousy. That can also be true when you have more than one kiddo. Fortunately, you can take steps to prepare them for the upcoming arrival. All you have to do is get them interested by including them. We’ve put together several tips to help you regardless of your child’s age. The most important thing to remember is to ensure that your children feel special. Include them where you can and remember that their world is about to change. With your help, they can embrace that change and anticipate the arrival of their new brother or sister.
Even before you begin to prepare your child for the arrival of a new sibling, you have to consider your kiddo’s age. Younger toddlers won’t fully grasp what’s going to happen or how things will change, while children older than three or four will be much better able to understand everything, as long as you explain it in an age-appropriate way. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get your younger tots ready to welcome their brother or sister, though. Show them your excitement and they’ll get excited, too.
Books go a long way toward explaining the changes that are about to take place in your child’s life. Select colorful picture books for infants and toddlers. At the very least, they can become familiar with new words, such as “baby,” “brother,” and “sister.”
You can find a treasure trove of books for toddlers and older kids that can explain an array of situations. In addition to topics that focus on the birth of a new baby, you can find books that help you to explain topics like surrogacy, IVF and IUI treatments, and adoption. There are also books geared toward all sorts of families. Look for books that target your child’s age range, as they will use language that your kiddo will understand.
Your child is about to lose control over quite a few things in their life. In getting them excited about a new sibling, you can give back some control by involving your little one in planning for the baby. Naturally, they won’t be responsible for any monumental tasks, but they can help out and have a say over the smaller things. For example, let your child look at paint and wallpaper samples for the nursery. They can choose their new sibling’s crib bedding, pick out the new baby’s first pair of baby shoes, or give an opinion on their sibling’s name. Including your existing children in small but meaningful ways can mitigate any jealousy that might pop up when their sibling finally arrives.
Although younger children won’t notice disruptions to their routines as much as older children, you need to be as upfront as possible with your kids. Let them know the facts about what life with their new sibling will entail at first. Being honest is better than surprising them with abrupt changes.
Tell them that a baby will require a lot of attention at first but explain that it’s because babies are completely dependent. Reassure them that you will still be there for them and that they are loved deeply and unconditionally.
Don’t be afraid to talk about the nitty-gritty aspects of newborn life, either. For instance, your kiddo should know that the baby may cry frequently throughout the night and that sometimes plans might have to change because of the baby’s schedule.
If the new sibling in the family is older than a baby, then you can explain transitional changes. Talk to your children about ways to help their brother or sister feel supported and welcomed in your home.
Give your kids the freedom to welcome their new sibling in the most creative way they can think of — within reason, of course. However, even if your children have high aspirations, there’s certainly time for them to make welcome banners and cards or even some more complicated projects, such as an easy knitted baby blanket or a painting for the nursery.
After the new sibling enters the picture, your kiddos may act out or regress a little. Jealousy is common, and a child may feel like they’re being replaced by the new baby. To alleviate that situation, spend time with each of your children individually. Even if it’s a story before bedtime or an hour spent listening to stories after school, it will mean everything to your little ones.
Every child will react differently to the news of an incoming sibling. Before the baby arrives, you can take steps to help your kiddo view the event as a positive one. Do you have any tips?
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