Not all children immediately adjust to being a big sibling and no longer the only child. They may struggle with not being the center of attention and having another child vying for their parents’ love.
There will always be challenges for families welcoming a new bundle of joy into the household, but these preparation tips should ensure you have an adorably doting older sibling before long:
Prepare Them Early
Don’t wait until your baby is almost here before preparing your firstborn for the arrival of their sibling. Start preparing early by talking to them months in advance about their sibling being on their way.
Use any opportunity to bring up the subject. For example, when you’re picking out the best breastfeeding pillow and decorating the nursery, you can take the opening to discuss how your child’s new sibling will need a comfortable place to eat, sleep, and (eventually) play.
Discuss Their Role
Being an older sibling is an important job. They may just not know it yet. Get into the habit of discussing their role as the older sibling in a positive way. This might involve saying that they can be a helper and talking about child-friendly things they can do for their new sibling when they get here.
You can also talk about the exciting things your firstborn will be able to do with their sibling when they’re older, like walking with them to the bus stop, helping them build block towers, and showing them how to kick a ball around. These positive associations may help your firstborn see their soon-to-be sibling as something to look forward to.
Involve Them in the Planning Process
Any baby can require planning. New parents can be busy attending doctor appointments, preparing a nursery, and ensuring they have everything they need for when the baby comes. Try to involve your firstborn in the planning as much as possible. Let them pick out items to put in the baby’s nursery, and ask for their input on different colors and furniture types.
Giving your child control and input into planning for a new baby should help them feel more excited about the arrival of their sibling.
Address Concerns Early
Pay close attention to how your child reacts when you bring up the subject of their sibling’s arrival in a matter of months. If they get angry, sad, or frustrated, meet them on their level and try to understand why they might feel that way.
While some children are thrilled about having a new sibling, you can’t assume that will be the case for your child. By taking the time to address their concerns early, you have time to build a positive association.
Spend Time Around Babies
For many children, their first experience with babies is the arrival of their own siblings. It can be an overwhelming experience when a strange newborn turns up and never leaves! Thankfully, you can lessen the baby shock by introducing them to little ones before your own bundle is due.
Have coffee dates with friends who have babies, and let your child ask questions if they have any. When they learn about the sounds and smells associated with newborns, the arrival of their sibling should be easier to manage.
Preparing your firstborn for the arrival of a new sibling can be a pregnancy-long process. Start early by talking about their new sibling and involving them in the planning. Before long, they’ll develop into the doting older sibling you know they’re capable of being.