New Baby Sibling

How to Prepare your Children for a New Baby Sibling

5 September 2022
Posted by: Chelsea

Prepare your Children for a New Baby Sibling: Having a new baby in the house will be a disruption to household routines. That though will include any existing children.

So, here are some thoughts about how to prepare your children for a new baby sibling.

How to prepare your children for a new baby sibling

The overall objective should be to avoid surprises!

So:

  • tell them in advance what is happening. Make that at least around the time the first ‘bump’ starts to significantly show or you’ll get puzzled looks and awkward questions;
  • anticipate some “where do babies come from?” type questions, if you haven’t already explained. If you haven’t, have some good and interesting answers ready rather than trying to dodge. If you’re evasive, they may think something negative is about to happen;
  • try to give them as much time as possible in the runup to labour. Yes, it’s hard but ideally, children shouldn’t think that parental attention has been massively diluted as focus switches to layette and so on;
  • talk a lot to your child about how great it will be to have a sister or brother Most children respond very positively to that.

After the birth

Most mothers after birth are exhausted and need to work hard to focus on their new baby and their own recovery. In that situation, the reality of life is that you may just not have the same amount of time to give to your other child or children in the early weeks.

When you bring your baby home, try to greet your other child/children first. If you can ‘magic up’ a small gift for them from their new sibling, it would be great psychology. It would also be sensible to spread the word to visitors to try and admire first the existing child rather than spend 100% on the new arrival.

In spite of all this and your best efforts, inevitably your attention on an existing child will, for a time, be diluted.

If you have a regular partner, try to ensure they have reserved additional time to be spent with existing children by way of compensation. If you do not, try to rope in the help of other family members.

Remember to keep a close watch on your own physical and mental health too and avoid trying to become all things at all times to all your children.

Problems

Some relatively minor jealously and resentment are perfectly natural where an older sibling is concerned. Contrary to some mythology, serious problems here are rare.

They can happen though and other family members will need to, very discretely, keep an eye on potential significant and harmful jealousy arising.

If parents and the wider family work to constantly assure the older sibling(s) that their position hasn’t really changed in terms of parental affection, the vast majority adapt very well after a few days or weeks.

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