Helping Your Child Welcome A New Sibling

By: Olivia Maloy |

Are you expecting baby number two? Pregnancy and its symptoms may be familiar to you now that you are a seasoned mother, but there are still plenty of novelties in store. While you are probably excited about giving your older child a new sibling, your child may be less thrilled about the new baby, who is going to disrupt family harmony and may feel quite threatened.

Fortunately, there are a number of things that you can do in order to help your child adjust to a new brother or sister. Consider the following:

Include Your Child In The Pregnancy

Some people are going to advise you to keep your pregnancy to yourself for quite a while, because you may have a miscarriage and nine months is too long a time frame for young children to understand what is happening. There are some good reasons to share the news right away, however.

Your child is going to notice your pregnancy signs and symptoms, and wonder what is wrong with you. She may also wonder why you are less active, including less active in engaging her in play. Then, there is the chance that your child will find out about your pregnancy just by listening to your conversations with your partner or other adults, or she may even hear that she is going to be a big sister from someone else!

Most of all, including your child in your pregnancy can bring great joy to the whole family. Almost all kids love picking out baby clothes, discussing names for their little sibling, or feeling him kick from the womb!

Make Your Child Feel Loved And Secure

Some immature men feel insecure about their place in the family after a baby is born... imagine how your child might feel! All kids like to be reassured about their place in the family during a pregnancy. You can help by showing him pictures of himself as a newborn, and talking about how happy you are that he is bigger now â€" because you can talk to him, and understand him better.

Another thing you should do if at all possible, is to designate a new special "big kid" space in the home for your older child. Most parents who are expecting their second baby will be reusing at least some of the baby gear that used to belong to the soon-to-be big sibling, and that is bound to cause some bad feelings. Get a new, big bed for him, or a playhouse he can retreat to, or redecorate his room just how he likes it (within your budget).

Even with all these preventative measures, your family will be going through huge changes once the baby is born. It is therefore most important that your child knows he is loved. Tell him that you love him often, and remind him through little gestures. If possible, set aside time to regularly enjoy mom and big kid dates. You can go to the playground, or have an ice cream together, or even go grocery shopping. All kids love to have their mom to themselves sometimes, if only for a little while.

Expose Your Child To The Reality Of Being A Big Sibling

Your new baby may turn out to be your child's best playmate in the years to come, but your kid deserves a fair warning that newborns are not the world's greatest toy. Do talk about going away to a hospital to give birth (unless you are having a homebirth), and explain how life will change after you come home. Mention sleepless nights, diapers, and a tired mom.

Try to visit friends or relatives who have newborns to give your child a realistic idea of what a baby is like, or watch videos of tiny babies on the internet if you do not have the opportunity to meet newborns live. At the same time, also explain that the newborn stage doesn't last forever. Older children can play peek-a-boo and get a real reaction back from the baby pretty soon â€" at about six weeks. So, being a big brother or sister may be a lot of fun... but not right away!

Olivia Maloy blogs about fertility, pregnancy and parenting at Trying To Conceive.

Image credit: on Flickr

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