How to prepare a sibling for the new baby?

Sharon Buchalter

Posted on December 28 2020

Happy toddler with his sibling

 

Welcoming a new baby to your family can be challenging at times. Firstborns tend to deal with the news of a new sibling quite differently. Some are surprised, some are rather annoyed, while others are keen to meet their baby brother or sister.

new sibling

It is important to prepare the older child for the arrival of their new sibling

Older siblings also get envious of the constant attention and care their new sibling is receiving. Research indicates that older children become emotionally upset and turn disruptive following the arrival of their new sibling. This is also known as sibling jealously. Therefore, it is important to consider preparing your firstborn on how to be a great sibling. Here, I will highlight some of the top tips that parents can use to prepare their older children to welcome the newborn.

Dealing with the “growing tummy

Children are curious by nature. Your child will eventually notice the baby bump and ask about it. It is essential to explain to your child the arrival of their new sibling. However, it would be best if you considered your child’s maturity level. Toddlers would not understand much about what it means to have a new sibling. Pre-schoolers, on the other hand, are very attached to their parents.

You should explain pregnancy and the birth of a child before they experience their sibling. How much information to give? I wouldn’t recommend explaining to them the ENTIRE process. Instead, what you can do is to tell your child that the baby is in the mummy’s tummy. A child who is interested to know more will ask for further details. Some steps you can take to prepare your child are:

  • Show them their childhood pictures – This will help them understand that they received the same attention and care their new sibling will receive.
  • Include your child in the planning phase – Take your child out with you and involve them in shopping for the new baby. Decide on baby names with your child. This will enable the child to take responsibility for their baby brother or sister.
  • Get them used to their changed routine – If your child has to change the room to make room for the new baby, make sure to do this before the baby is born. This will ensure that your child becomes used to the new setup. It also prevents them from blaming the new sibling for these changes.

Other than that, several hospitals also offer sibling classes to train older children for this life-changing event and accept and love their new siblings.

Preparing for childbirth

It is vital to make arrangements for your older children before you go to the hospital. Let your child know that you are going to bring home a new sibling. A proper explanation will help the child to comprehend what to expect when the due date arrives.

Let your child visit you in the hospital after the baby is born. The parents should cuddle with the child and congratulate them on having a new sibling. Let your child interact with the newborn and develop a loving relationship with their little brother or sister. This will help the child feel like a part of the growing family.

Fathers can spend some quality time with their older children while mummy is busy with the new baby. This helps them feel assured that their parents still love them as much, and the arrival of the new baby will not affect their relationship with the child.

Bringing your new baby home

It is time to bring your newborn home. While your older child might not have displayed signs of discomfort till now, they may show some restraints soon after the baby comes homes. According to research, children's jealousy behaviors tend to decrease with age. Pre-schoolers tend to be the most affected by jealousy. However, regardless of what age group your child belongs to, you have to make sure that they don’t feel left out.

Spend time with them when the baby is napping. You can also include them in caring for the baby such as, teaching them how to change the baby’s diaper, helping them dress up the baby, or even showing them burping techniques, which can be fun for young children to experience.

Conclusion

Having a new sibling is a dramatic change for a child. If your child is upset with the arrival of the new baby, don’t be alarmed. It is normal for children to feel apprehensive. Parents need to understand their child’s feelings and help them adjust to the new situation by showing them proper love and attention.

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