A new addition can have a major impact on your family. The most important thing to bear in mind is to prepare your elder child when you know you are expecting. It’s the toughest thing your child will have to deal with, but ultimately it will be one of the finest gifts you could ever give them.
- Talk about the birth: Tell your baby about the new arrival the same time you tell your family and friends, let him know from you rather then neighbours spilling the beans. Breaking the news is critical, so do it right.
- Showing pictures: Help your child understand through images how the baby would look as it grows in your tummy and what changes will occur when mommy is pregnant. Showing pictures will help him understand a little better. Also let him know how their birth was and how they were like as a new born.
- Make him involved: It is very important to keep your child involved in the preparations – lest he starts feeling neglected and jealousy creeps in.
- Examples: Your own brothers and sisters can be of help telling your child stories of fun that you all had as siblings. This will put a sense of surety in his mind. Visit relatives and friends who have 2 or more kids.
- Avoid Transitions: Avoid making changes at last minute. Potty training or kindergarten or a shift to a new bedroom should be done some time before he knows that someone else is on the way. This would else implant insecurity in the young mind.
- Help from others: At times the best thing to do is ask other parents or your parents what they did to prep their child, what worked out the best and what didn’t turn out right. If they made any particular arrangement and if it worked out as per plan, you could be game to it too.
- Sleepovers: Send your child to his grandparent’s place or a close friend/relative who will be by your side during delivery for a sleepover – so it won’t be the first time when you are at hospital during the birth.
- Talking to your baby: Talk to your baby or sing and play music for the baby in your tummy, your elder child might get curious and join in too! Let him feel and see the baby moving.
- Keep it real: Let him know that baby won’t be the play-friend right in the beginning, it will take some time. Initially the baby would need help, won’t be able to eat, sleep or go to the bathroom by themselves. The baby might cry a lot since he would be new here and being an elder sibling he has to help him adjust as he knows everyone and everything.
Age wise tips-
- Children aged 2 or younger: Toddlers are unlikely to understand still what it means to have a brother or sister. Talk to them through pictures or reading out stories.
- Children aged 2 to 4 (preschoolers): At this age most children would not be able to accept the fact of sharing you with someone else. A lot of explaining is required here and let them know how helpless the baby would be at first. Encouraging your child to get involved is your duty. Take him shopping to get baby stuff, give him a doll to play and show examples of other siblings.
- Children 4 and above (School-aged): Children at this age know little better and the chances are of them being jealous about the new-baby are also greater. Telling them about new-born’s needs, pointing out the advantage of being an elder brother or might help.
No matter what your child’s age is, individual attention from you and partner is important when the new born has arrived. Having a positive thinking and being realistic is a must!