A lot of us may not remember how we’re introduced to our siblings. They are just there one day and your life changed! There will be sibling rivalries but it can be managed. Here’s how to prepare your first child for the arrival of their new sibling so they won’t feel neglected or replaced.
1. Talk to your child about the baby
At first, your child may not want to talk about the new baby all the time but you can answer questions if asked. He may ask what’s the baby doing inside or whether the baby is moving around. It is also a good time to explain to your child that he or she grew inside you too! You can also pose questions to your child such as “What do you think she’s doing in there?”
2. Involve your child
When the baby’s kicking is pronounced enough, let your first born touch your belly. You can also encourage your child to sing or pat the baby as a way for him to bond with the baby. Your first born can even join you on your prenatal visits to hear the baby’s heartbeat.
Another good way is to involve your child in picking out his or her sibling’s supplies such as the baby blanket or socks. The aim is to make your child feel included and a part of the welcoming committee.
3. Train your child to sleep in his own room
When the baby comes along, there may not be enough room inside your own bedroom. You also wouldn’t want two kids waking you and your husband up at night every few hours! Help him set up his big boy bedroom and train him to sleep with dad so he can get used to falling asleep without mummy. It’s easier to do all these before the baby comes so he’ll have time to adjust sleeping in a new room!
4. Get your child a doll
When the baby is here, you may need to leave your first born for awhile to tend to the baby’s needs such as nappy changing and feeding. By getting your child a doll, he or she can bring it along with you and change nappies together (just that her doll’s nappy wouldn’t be soiled!) This way your first born won’t feel ignored or left out.
5. Use cartoon as examples
There are plenty of kid shows where they broach the topic of welcoming the second baby. Peppa Pig has an episode where Rebecca Rabbit was pregnant and then gave birth to twins. These shows also teach young kids how to help mummy care for the new baby and how to behave around the new family member.
6. Tell them you love them
Most of the anxiety stems from feeling replaced or neglected. To reassure your first child, always tell them that you love them too and show it! Spend time with your first baby and they will love you more for it too.
Last but not least, caring for babies and spending hours with kids can make mums feel lonely and tired so try to set aside time to talk to your partner and have some adult conversation.
What other ways have you used to help your first child prepare for the arrival of their new sibling? Help other parents by sharing your tips and tricks in the comments in Facebook!