How to Help Your Child Adapt to a New Sibling
To bring home a second baby or the third one may be stressful for you and your other children. With them, you were only focusing on taking care of one baby. With the second or third one, you are more likely to stress the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship with your children as well as that among siblings.
If you are wondering how you could meet both their needs, here are a few tips and tricks in having a child prepare for a new baby.
How to Explain Pregnancy to A Toddler
There are a lot of ways to explain to a toddler how pregnancy works. If you are to ease her or him into the idea that you are having a newborn baby, the concept of pregnancy may be a good starting point.
- Go through some old pictures.
Why not take out an album with old pictures of yourself when you were pregnant with her or him so that they will know what you looked like as your pregnancy progresses. If you have any ultrasound photos to share, these can also be a great way to explain to them the situation.
- Explain the concept of pregnancy by telling them a story.
You can help your child understand the idea of pregnancy by using various stories found on children’s books. These images will make things much clearer to a child better than a wordy explanation from an actual science book.
- Make use of other visuals.
Toys will allow your child a better idea of what her new sibling will look like. A doll would be the perfect example of this. Furthermore, you can make them understand what the concept of a baby is by explaining it in relation to common things. You can use fruits to explain a baby’s size in your stomach as the weeks progress. At the 4th week, the baby will be the same size as that of a poppy seed. At the 15th week, it is now around the same as an orange. At the 19th week, it will be the size of a mango.
Breaking the Big News!
The 12th week of your pregnancy would be the ideal time to share the big news. For children less than two years old, it is alright to withhold the announcement until your third trimester as they will not be conscious of what is occurring until your stomach grows.
In addition, if they are much older, they need to be prepared earlier. One thing is for sure, you have to break the news gently. Ensure that you and your husband are present to break the news. Nonetheless, you have to be prepared for three different kinds of reactions because wonder varies in different young minds – disinterest, a range of questions, or even sadness may be felt.
If you notice that your child’s reaction to the big news showed attention, interest, and excitement in his or her soon-to-be sibling, you can further encourage that by doing the following activities:
- Look at old photographs
- Visit friends who have infants
- Read age-appropriate books about childbirth
- Go through some of the potential baby names
- Visit the doctor to hear the baby’s heartbeat
- Pack your things for the hospital together
Also, it is important to look into sibling birth classes. Most of the time, a number of hospitals offer these orientation sessions for soon-to-be siblings. These sessions can incorporate teachings on how to properly hold and carry a baby, demonstrations of how a baby is brought about in this world as well as chances for soon-to-be sisters and brothers to discuss how they truly feel about the situation.
Introducing Your Older Children to Their New Sibling
Be sure to bring your older children to the hospital for a visit. It is important to spend time with them as you allow other family members to hold the newborn baby – even if it is only for a few moments.
You have to ensure that both you and your husband will give the older child a hefty amount of love and attention. This will eliminate any jealous tendencies between siblings. Nonetheless, this will ensure that your love for them will not change as soon as a new family member is brought into this world.
- You also have to give your older child a token that properly acknowledges your new baby. This could be in a form of a tee that says “I just became a big sister,” or “Big Bro.”
- Be sure to discuss these upcoming events and shifts in your family’s lives so that your children would know what to expect. Furthermore, by explaining them the situation, there will be a lower chance of them feeling left out; thus, a lower chance for sibling rivalry.
- It is highly advisable to allow your child to visit the hospital as soon as possible after the new family member is born. It would be also ideal if there are no other visitors around. This helps strengthen the bond and make the birth date an intimate family event.
- It is important to follow your old regular routines as much as possible in the days succeeding their new sibling’s arrival.
- If your older child is nearing a major milestone in his or her life, you can attempt to make those shifts before your due date. On the other hand, putting them off until after you have delivered the baby is a good choice too.
Welcoming Your Newborn Baby Into Your Home
The day that you bring your newborn child into your home should also be the day when you start allowing your older children to be part of the daily routines involving the newest addition to your family. This is done for the purpose of not making them feel left out.
In the end, having your child prepare for a new baby can be stressful and worrisome. However, you can prepare for this ahead of time to ensure that the relationship between you and your children, as well as between siblings, will remain a healthy and happy one.
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