11 EASY Ways to Prepare Your Older Child For A Sibling
Congratulations on your second baby! In a few months you will be a parent to two little ones! Is your older sibling ready for the new baby? We know the transition can be hard for many but there are 8 easy ways to prepare your older child for a sibling.
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Start Preparing Your Older Child For A Sibling Before The New Baby Arrives
This time preparing for a baby will be a lot different than the last time. You still have to get a nursery together but you may already have a lot of the things you need for your new baby. It will be a little less shopping and a lot more prepping with your eldest child. It is time to make sure that your little one is ready to become a big brother or a big sister. The best way to prepare them for their families big change is start to prepare them early. Through out your pregnancy, you and your family can start to help your child get used to the family transition. From only child to big sibling, there is so much to look forward to!
Prepare Your Older Child’s Feelings For A Sibling
Your older child may feel confused. They also may feel that they are not the baby of the family anymore and that they are not loved. Other children may be excited about what a newborn brings to their lives and their family. Each feeling is valid and needs to be addressed. Getting your child used to new sibling is key for a smoother transition.
For younger children, they may not even understand what getting a new sibling entails. Is this person temporary? What does that mean for the child’s relationship with you? They may seem like adorable thoughts but these are valid concerns even with the youngest of toddlers. They may show they’re displeased through tantrums, anger, sadness or acting out.
We have to change the way your child sees themselves in the family. They are a big part of the family and this transition is only fun with new responsibilities and experiences that lie ahead.
Ease Your First Born in to Being A Big Brother or Sister
Preparing for a newborn is never easy, and it can go either south or north to the only child. Depending on the age of your child, each idea should be presented at an age-appropriate level. Dr. Bethany Cook is a clinical psychologist, health service psychologist and a board certified music therapist. Dr. Cook has 11 easy ways to prepare your older child for a sibling.
11 Ways To Prepare Your Older Child for a Sibling
Read Books That Talk About Getting A Sibling
There are many great books to help your child understand about being a big sibling. There are also other wonderful books that teach a child what it means when a baby is coming in the family. They address some of the common feelings and emotions your firstborn may be feeling.
Talk about how your heart can fully love two people
Get a piece of paper and draw a heart on it. Then ask your child to color it red and tell them this is the love you have for them. Then give them the blue crayon and have them color on top of the red sharing that this is also how much you love their sibling. Once completed, explain how your love for them does not change. Their sibling merely adds more color to your heart and makes it a beautiful purple.
Offer to get a special toy or plant
A Special toy or plant requires gentle hands or special care to keep it safe. Explain how the baby will be fun to play with but that they must be gentle like they have been with their toy.
Talk about your own experience with siblings
Did you have any? How was it for you? What did your parents do to help you? Did it work?
Point out famous siblings
Talk to your older child about famous siblings or notable siblings who worked together and accomplished great things.
Use a metaphor
Use a metaphor to explain “team family.” New family members may not be MVPs yet (as they are still learning life skills) yet with support and guidance the entire team becomes successful both as a group but also as its individual components.
Talk honestly about the changes
Big changes that are bound to happen within the family structure (such as room changes, occasional baby watching for older siblings, etc). And talk about the disruptions that you don’t know will happen yet but that may arise (Colic and screaming baby for hours, etc) Ask your child for input on how to set up or decorate the baby’s room and/or the play room. This will help them feel empowered in making decisions which impact their living space and life.
Remind them daily they are loved
When you overreact, apologize. Offer over the top positive feedback for good behaviors.
Set up times
(if possible) for your older child to have special “play dates” or outings where the focus is on them and not the baby.
Have your child pick out a toy for the baby and you pick one out from the baby to your child.
As parents we have all our own unique approach to our children. Find out what works and stick with it!