Family life can undergo numerous adjustments when a new baby joins the ranks. After the birth of a child, parents devote a large portion of their time and energy to caring for the child. In this article, you can find help in preparing your child for a new sibling.
Older siblings may have a hard time dealing with all of this upheaval. When a baby is born, it’s natural for the older child to feel envy and behave out in response to the sudden change.
Parental guidance, on the other hand, can help children prepare for a new sibling. Making plans and incorporating children in the care of the infant can ease the burden on everyone involved if done in a way that is understandable to children.
When You’re Expecting
When preparing to inform your child of the approaching arrival of a sibling, consider both your level of comfort and that of your child. If you tell a preschooler that the baby will arrive in a few months, for example, they may not understand the notion of time. Explain that the baby will arrive around a specific time of year, such as winter or when it is chilly outside if that helps.
What level of specificity is appropriate? The questions your child asks you should lead you. “Where do babies come from?” may be a reasonable question to pose to a 4-year-old. To be clear, this isn’t a question about sexual orientation but rather one about their origins. Just saying, “The baby is born from the uterus, which is inside the mother’s belly,” may suffice to clear things up. When a child is curious, they will inquire.
You can pique your child’s interest in the newborn by:
- browsing through old photographs of your child as a baby
- books about childbirth (age-appropriate ones, of course)
- taking baby names to the doctor to hear the baby’s heartbeat while visiting friends with infants and packing a hospital bag
In addition, look into sibling birth programs that many hospitals provide to help brothers and sisters be ready for the arrival of a new member of the family. In these workshops, children will learn how to care for a newborn, how a baby is born, and how to express their thoughts about becoming a big brother or sister.
Preparing for a Baby’s Arrival
As your due date approaches, begin making plans for your older children’s time at the hospital with you. Educate your children about what to expect on the big day by elaborating on the details in advance.
Once the baby is born, allow your child to visit you in the hospital as soon as possible—ideally when no one else is there—to emphasize the delivery as a private family occasion.
Prior to the baby’s arrival, it’s ideal to maintain a regular schedule. Before your due date, if you plan to make any room changes to accommodate the baby, do so.
There are certain milestones, like potty training or moving your child from a crib to a bed, that should be planned for or delayed until after your baby has been home for a while.
Coming Home with a Newborn Child
Once the infant is home, you may help your other children adjust to the new situation. As much as possible, keep them informed so they don’t feel alone.
New babies often elicit the support of eager young siblings. As a result, even if each chore takes longer, the older child has the opportunity to interact with the baby in a good manner through this “assistance.” There are various ways a big brother or sister can help with diaper changes, such as helping push the stroller, chatting with the baby, or even helping bathe or burp the baby.
Don’t worry if your youngster isn’t interested in the infant, and don’t try to force it. The project may take some time to finish.
Older children cannot participate in certain activities, such as breastfeeding. Have a few toys available so that you can nurse the infant without interruption or fear that an older child will feel left out.
Make the most of one-on-one time with older children when it comes your way. When the baby is napping, give each of your elder children a period of uninterrupted time with one of you. The knowledge may soothe anger or bitterness toward the new infant that special time has been set aside only for them.
Also, let family and friends know that your older child may want to chat about something other than the new baby when they visit you. Relatives or friends who inquire about how they can help should provide a fun activity or a special treat for the older child.
If you’re able, keep your older child in daycare or school. As a parent, you may feel bad about sending your older child away, as you are now home with your new baby. Siblings, on the other hand, benefit from a regular schedule. As a result, this time can allow you to spend one-on-one time with your child that you would otherwise miss. When your older child returns from daycare or school, make time to spend together as a family.
Managing Emotional Outbursts
Some older children may have difficulty adjusting to a new baby’s arrival because of the many changes it brings.
Allow older children to express their thoughts and feelings regarding the new baby in the family. Children who cannot communicate their feelings may push the boundaries or revert to baby babble.
When your child misbehaves, don’t let him get away with breaking the rules. Instead, try to figure out why he’s behaving in this manner. ‘ Make it clear that while your child’s feelings are important, they must be communicated in proper ways. This could indicate that they need more time alone with you.
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