Written by Editorial Team
The arrival of a new baby is always a moment of excitement. It can be the second or third one. The joys, happiness and challenges that come with it are enjoyable. This is also the time when parents get nervous about breaking the news with the older child in the family. Parents are not sure of the reaction of the older child; some older kids are excited while some are not too happy. As parents, it is important to take care of the emotional needs of the older baby as well. It is the duty of the parents to make the older child happily accept the younger ones. In this article, we will explain how to prepare your first child for a new baby.
Experts believe that there should be a gap of at least five years when planning another baby. This makes the acceptance process slightly easier as the older one is mature to understand. If the age gap is less, then the toddler or preschooler cannot understand. This is because they are too young and attached to their parents. The case is not so with a child who is five years or more. The threat is less, but they do resent the attention the new baby gets. It is important to prepare the first child for a smoother life ahead. Else, dealing with two kids with different sets of emotions can be a challenging task.
In This Article
The arrival of a new baby can change the family dynamics. It can be an arduous process for the older child so following the measures below makes it easier for the old child to accept the new baby.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare your child for the new arrival.
There is no set way to break the news to the child about the new baby. It all depends on the age of the older one and the due date of the baby. Kids under five years need time to understand and adjust as they are too small. If the older child has questions and inquisitiveness, explain in the simplest way possible. They cannot at this age understand many details than getting an answer to their queries. Something as simple as “Where does the baby come from”, the simple answer is “from the belly”. They cannot understand anything beyond that.
When looking for old stuff for the new baby, taking old photos and videos and reminiscing about the old fun times is a great idea. Show them the pictures of when they were born and through their growing years. It also makes the older sibling look forward to becoming the big brother or sister. This can also make the older baby responsible and curious to handle the coming baby.
If the older kid is not very mature, they cannot help with the names. The older child can help with other details than the name. This could be the toys, clothes, colour of the room etc. In case you are going to buy new stuff, it is ideal to take the older kid along and let them pick up something of their choice.
Mood swings are common to all. Even the older child experiences the same about the coming baby every day as it passes. As pregnancy advances, it becomes difficult for the expectant mother to bend and pick the child. This can make child angry, and they cannot understand the reason behind it and take it in a negative way. In any case, it is important to listen with patience to the feelings of the child as this change of phase is not easy for them too.
It is important to pick up a few books and keep preparing them by showing old photos or videos of the `old child as a baby. The books like “What to expect when you’re expecting” by Heidi Murkoff also help in preparing and addressing the ways in which the older child’s reluctance can be handled.
Just because a new baby is on the way, the older baby, especially a pre-schooler, must not be rushed to reach their milestones. The older child can feel hurt and might feel that he is losing importance. For eg; if the old child still uses a crib, moving them to a bigger bed is not a good option as they might feel their things are being given away and they are no more loved.
Young children are not too understanding at times, they can be self-centred too. This is because they are trying to learn about their own place in the world. It is always good to make them feel great by encouraging them to be a great brother or sister, also signifying how important they are for the entire family. Also, while setting up a new space for the coming baby, it is a good idea to also make slight changes to the existing room of the older one as well.
In case the older child is less than three years old, they can be given a doll for the role-play of an elder sibling. This exercise can inculcate responsibility, and they practice holding them, changing clothes, and feeding them. It allows them to get used to the processes and when they see the real baby, they start doing the same as with the doll. This role play should be as realistic as possible and should even include placing the doll in the car seat or talking to it for walks in the stroller, singing a lullaby to make the baby sleep etc.
Preparing your child for a new baby is not a tedious task. Most children are happy to have a new addition to the family in the form of babies. As parents, it is our duty to ensure that they are given priority. This will make them feel important and they will wait happily and eagerly for the new arrival.
It is a great feeling to let the older child participate in the preparation of the coming baby. This will give them a feeling that they are contributing to the family. They feel important and look forward to the new sibling. Once they are ready, they even start taking care of the mother, talking to the baby in the womb etc. They are equally excited and thrilled and accept the new one with all their love. Sometimes, they do get moody at times but there will be no threat to the coming baby.
It is common for older kids to get jealous of the baby and can end up doing dangerous acts to get rid of the baby as well. It depends on the parents how vigilant they are towards both the babies.
Yes, it is a daunting experience to prepare for a baby. Even if everything is done, there is always a list of things to do till the end.
You can start the discussion by trying to find out if the older one is looking for company, wants a brother and sister and then preparing the sibling likewise becomes easier. It is also a good idea to ask the older child to do some tasks like feeding, holding, bathing the infant etc., under adult supervision with a small baby or a toy to get the hang of the steps.
It is good to introduce the new baby to the older child in the third trimester. At this point, they can feel the baby kicking in the womb. Some older kids also start talking to the baby in the womb.
Read Also: Preparing For The Siblings First Meeting
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