6 ways to prepare your child for a new sibling
Bringing a new member to a family is exciting and joyful but it can be hard for older siblings to handle the change. Here are six ways to prepare your child for a new sibling.
Arrival of a newborn baby in the family is an exciting and happy event. However, parents could also worry about how their older kids would respond to a new sibling. Early sibling announcements to children reduce their anxiety. Parents spend a lot of time and energy preparing for the new baby and once the newborn arrived, the entire family's attention is on taking care of the infant. For elder siblings, all this upheaval might be difficult to handle. It's normal for them to sense jealousy toward the infant and act out in response to the upheaval. However, parents can help their children get ready for a new family member. It can be simpler for everyone if you talk about the pregnancy in a language that kids can understand, make some preparations, and involve children in taking care of the newborn. (Also read: Baby care tips: Common mistakes, parenting solutions to care for your newborn )
Registered Psychotherapist and Parenting Expert, Jess, suggested six ways to prepare your child for a new sibling, in her recent Instagram post.
- Role-play how to hold, touch, and talk to a baby with a doll. This is how you use soft hands with a baby! Can you show me?". This will develop a sense of responsibility and care for a younger sibling in a child and will make them more prepared.
- Read books about adding a new baby to the family. Books can help your child visualize what life might be like after the baby comes!
- Tell them “even when the baby comes, you will still be my baby too. I'll always love you". Your child needs to know the baby coming will not replace your love for them. Even though they are a big brother or sister now they will always be your baby too.
- Create a plan: If you are missing me use your strong voice to say "Mom I miss you." I want to hear about how you feel. Be proactive about the fact that your child may miss you or be jealous. Let them know you can handle these big feelings.
- Have them hold your belly and sing the baby songs/talk to the baby. Sing the same songs and say the same words to the baby once they are born. This helps them bridge the connection between your pregnancy and the baby. Helps them start to form a bond with babies early on.
- Create a "feeding basket" they can use when you are feeding the baby after they are born. Proactively planning ahead with them so that you may not be able to play with them while feeding can help this be less of a surprise and more fun for them!