Are you pregnant again? Many congratulations!! If you feel that you have been there and done it before, you are most likely familiar with the baby protocol. However, this time it’s not the same as before, there is someone else you need to prepare for the new addition to your family too……yes your older child.
“There’s a baby in Mummy’s tummy”… Seriously? Your child might not have the least clue on what you’re talking about, though this depends on his age as well. While others offer a hug or a very happy congrats message , telling the older child that there is someone else also who will be living in the house, requires some etiquettes. Here’s how and when to spill the beans to the older child when a baby is arriving.
- Right Time -Wait until you are in your second trimester, as that is the time you will know that everything is going perfect with your pregnancy and also your rising belly will make it easier to explain. It would be a perfect time to tell why your tummy is swelling and will end your young one’s curiosity and would know there is a baby inside. Read books to them about babies and how it feels to have a younger brother or sister from your own experiences and tell them they will also have one soon.
- Do not complicate – Even for adults it’s quite difficult to grasp the concept of pregnancy, but it’s even tougher for tots and pre-schoolers. Hence keep it up to the point by asking, “Can you see my tummy, it’s getting bigger, there is a baby in there- your brother or sister who will soon start living with us.” It might also be difficult for them to understand concept of brother or sister so try giving them real life examples: “cousin Rudra is cousin Reet’s big brother and you’re going to be elder one too!” Showing pictures of yourself when you were pregnant with your first child and telling your child it’s you in the belly and photos of child as new born.
- Share only what is necessary – Further information should be provided only if you are questioned, do not try to explain more than asked. Kids under five do not know the process of reproduction yet; therefore a kid who is quite curious would ask one of the most common questions “how did he/she get in your belly?” It’s easier to make some story or say God has given a gift for you to play with as you have been very good.
- Let them know when to expect – Tell your firstborn that his/her new sibling is arriving in next five months, seven months or even sooner might not be meaningful to them. The best way could be by telling the new baby will be here by a certain festival which he knows (Diwali or Christmas), maybe by his birthday or till winter “when it’s the time to wear coats and gloves.”
- Do not give any ideas – Try not to plant seeds of doubt! If you say “I will still love you” or “have they questioned you about it? Or “Will you share your toys with the baby?” most kids won’t like the idea of sharing which would be a strong reason to be babyphobic.
Some suggestions so as not to make your first child feel insecure.
- Include him in conversations, even though you think he s not listening.
- Cultivating the sense of being superior which would boost their self-esteem.
- Focusing on things which won’t change.
- Keep your child involved in the preparations.
When you have made up your mind to share the news, the best time would be when the child is quite relaxed and playful. The parents should be together. The kind of reaction you receive only depends on individual child!