How to Prepare Your Kids for a New Baby
If you’ve recently found out that you’re expecting, you’re likely experiencing a range of thoughts and emotions. Growing your family can be exciting especially when you think about how you’ll share the news with your other children. However, it’s important to consider your child’s age, feelings, and personality when you announce that there will be a new baby in the family. Here are some helpful tips for helping your children adjust to a new baby.
Make the Announcement As Soon As Possible
The sooner you tell your child(ren) that you’re pregnant, the better. This gives your son or daughter ample time to get used to the idea of having a sibling. For younger children, it’s best to reveal your pregnancy once you start to show. However, older children should likely find out that you’re having a baby when you get the official word from the doctor. You may even want to take your older children to the OBGYN office with you so they can hear the announcement from the doctor. For instance, if you live in or near the Richmond area, ask your OBGYN Richmond VA if you and your family can make the announcement in the exam room with balloons or a t-shirt for the new big brother or sister.
Be Open to Answer Questions
If you have a toddler or young child, he/she may have questions about the new baby. You should be available to answer questions about how much attention and time your child will receive and how much time has to be devoted to the newborn. Keep in mind that older children may have questions about how babies are made and what will happen during birth. You should answer these questions in an age-appropriate manner but be as honest as possible. This will help ease your child’s fears about welcoming a new sibling and make your little one feel that he/she is still an important part of the family.
Make Your Child a Part of the Process
It’s important to make your child feel that he/she is an essential part of the process as you prepare for a new baby. Give your child(ren) “jobs” like filling up the diaper bin, picking out clothing for the baby, and choosing the colors for the nursery. If your child feels included, he/she is less likely to feel resentment or jealousy when the baby is born. Check-in with your child often to see how he/she feels about becoming a big brother or sister. It’s natural for you and your other relatives to focus most of your attention on the new baby, so you have to be intentional about showing your older children care and concern as well.
It may also be helpful to explain to your child that you went through a similar process when he/she was born. Emphasize to your kids that they were babies at one time too, and everyone was excited about their arrival just like you’re excited about the new baby.
Give Your Children Their Own Time With You
Once the baby is born, you’ll be pressed for time since you’ll be consumed with nursing, changing diapers, and trying to get your baby to adjust to a healthy sleep pattern. Your loved ones and friends may also visit your home to meet the new baby and will likely tell you how adorable the newborn is and hold the child for long periods of time. This can make your other children feel left out and neglected. It’s up to you to make sure that you set aside extra time for your child. Do things that your son and daughter enjoy like playing his/her favorite game or spending time outdoors. Even something as small as making sure you read a bedtime story to your child each night will let your son or daughter know that he/she is loved and an important part of the family even though there’s a new addition to the household.
These are just a few of the ways you can ensure that your children are prepared to welcome a new sibling into the family. Take your child(ren)’s personalities into account as you strive to make this new family dynamic a pleasant one for everyone involved.