A sibling can be one of the biggest blessings you’ll ever give your children. Someone to play with, make memories with, learn hard lessons (like sharing!) with, and someone to count on. As so many of us know, it’s amazing having a sibling – but that doesn’t make it easier when your first born is still young.
If you’re here, you’re probably worried about what is going to happen when you bring your new baby home, and how you can make the transition easiest for your first baby. Mama, you aren’t alone in your worries – most moms worry about preparing their child for a new baby. Fortunately, there are so many ways to prepare your child, and strategies to use when baby is here to help make life with two (or three, or more!) as easy as possible. As a third time Mom…and a Mom with many other mom friends who have worried the same worries and come through it, I’ve got so many strategies to help you out.
Talk about baby – show them books and videos
Take the time to explain to your children that a baby is coming, and that they are becoming a big brother or sister! Take the time to read them books about becoming an older sibling, and watch some YouTube videos about becoming a big brother or sister to help them grasp the concept.
Explaining how long to young kids
Tell your kids about the baby growing in your tummy – and try link it to an event. Small children often don’t understand time, so if you try link it to a date – it might help them understand that a new baby isn’t imminent. For example, “Mommy will be having the baby after Christmas.”
Let them feel the baby move
Let your child feel the baby kicking inside you, and encourage them to say hello and talk to their new baby brother or sister. It will help them understand, and help them feel connected with your pregnancy.
Spend time with other babies
Spending time with other babies helps young small children understand what to expect babies to do. They sometimes cry, and are very little and need a lot of time. It’s also an opportunity to encourage being gentle with baby, and is great to help prepare your child for a new baby.
Get a toy baby, and role play
Even one year old toddlers can enjoy taking care of their own little ‘baby’. Doing activities like bathing their babies, feeding their babies, dressing and changing their nappies. This will help prepare your child for a new baby, and will help them feel involved and included when the new baby gets here.
Toilet train before baby comes – or a few months after
It’s a good idea to get your eldest out of nappies before baby is here if they’re ready, but if not, it’s not a good idea to introduce toilet training in a time of big change. Hold off until life has settled.
Have a present for baby to give your eldest child
Baby giving your eldest child a present is a wonderful way to start things off on a positive foot, and a way to help your child feel special.
Encourage friends/family who are giving gifts to include a small present for your eldest child too
Imagine being a toddler and watching someone new get all the presents – not fun. Now isn’t the time to be driving sharing home, rather a time to be helping your little one know that they’re still included and a very important part of the family. A small gift is a lovely reminder for a toddler or pre-schooler that they’re important too.
Schedule 1:1 time
Babies are so exhausting and you’re probably going to want to flop on the couch and nap when the baby is napping. But, it’s so important to schedule 1:1 time with your older child. Many children often feel sad that they have to share Mom and Dad’s attention and it can be both confronting and a source of anxiety for them. Once a week at our house, we would both take the time to do something with our eldest daughter for half an hour at least outside of the house – Daddy would take her to the play centre, or Mommy would take her to the park.
Hopefully these tips help you prepare your child for a new baby! While there will be hiccups along the way, know that your sweet toddler will get through this transition, and so will you. Good luck with the birth of your new baby, mommy!