How to prepare your child for a new sibling

Posted in General on Monday, September 22nd, 2014

A new baby is a newcomer in the house – a newcomer who will take up most of your time and attention at least for the initial few months. For your elder child, this change will not be easy to understand. Furthermore, it could easily lead to grudges, sibling rivalry and even a feeling of neglect or sadness in your young child. In order to avert this situation, it is best to prepare your child for a new baby before and after the arrival.



Here is how to do that:

1. Talk to your child: Consider the maturity level of your child while talking to them about their new sibling. Your child may have questions on what a baby is, where the baby currently is and what the baby will do. You can answer these questions by showing baby pictures to your child, reading age appropriate baby books and taking him/her to visit friends who have babies. Encourage your child to ask questions about the new baby and answer them patiently.


2. Get them involved: Get your child involved in your preparations for a new sibling. For example, if you are getting a new crib or the baby room ready, encourage your child to paint little pictures or make little beaded jewelry for decorations. Appreciate your child while he/she works to take part in welcoming the baby. After the new baby is born, you can give some responsibilities to your elder child. These responsibilities have to be age appropriate and could range from alerting you whenever the baby cries or singing lullabies for the baby with you.


3. Introduce new people in your child’s schedule: If your child was used to spending most of their time with you, then dealing with the arrival of a new sibling will be much harder.  Therefore, in the months preceding your due date, you must slowly wean out your child from being dependent on you by introducing new people in his/her daily schedule. Concentrate on developing closeness between your partner and your child. In addition, you could encourage your child to spend extended time with his/her little friends. It would also be a good time to hire a fulltime babysitter so your child will have company even when you are busy. However, be careful about hiring one and carry out appropriate background checks before letting anyone care for your child.


4. Allocate exclusive time for your child: A new baby will take up most of your time but make sure you allocate some time every day exclusively for your older child. An ideal time would be when your baby sleeps during daytime. This would be the time for you to shower your child with all the love and attention. Make sure you do not waste this time to scold or discipline the child for his or her deeds but instead to acknowledge his/her support in letting you care for the new baby.


5. Encourage your child to express himself/herself: Make sure you always keep the communication channels open with your child – both before the birth of your new baby and after it. Talk to your child as if he/she is a grown up now and ask his/her opinion on what the baby wants. If your child expresses jealousy or resentment towards the new baby, talk to him/her with empathy and kindness and reassure them of your love. Remember, as long as your child keeps expressing their emotions to you, you would know what to do.

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