Preparing your firstborn for the arrival of a new sibling can be challenging. You might be feeling nervous about how they’re going to react and this is especially the case with younger children. Once they’re past preschool age, it’s a little easier to sit down and explain to them what’s happening. A sibling will make a wonderful addition to your family, however, and your other younger child will fall in love with them eventually. If you prepare them in advance, they’re more likely to be excited rather than a little jealous. Here are five tips to help you.
Hold off a little at first
With younger children, it’s important to time it right. Pregnancy is a magical yet inevitably stressful time and you don’t want to pass this onto your child. If you’re undergoing fertility treatments such as IVF abroad, or surrogacy, for example, wait until everything has got to a safe stage before you tell your other children. Having said that, make sure you tell your child before they’re likely to hear it from someone else.
Be honest with them
The level of detail you need to give your child depends on their age. Honesty is always essential, however, to help your child prepare for a new sibling. Explain that they’re getting an adorable new brother or sister, but they will cry and need time and attention. Put a positive spin on it and encourage their enthusiasm, but let them know a few facts about newborns.
Let them get involved
One nice way to help them adjust is to let them get involved. Take them shopping for baby clothes and let them pick something out. You could also try talking to your child about when they were a baby, or give them a doll to look after as practice. By involving them at least a little, they’re less likely to feel left out. With very small toddlers try simply showing picture books about babies and families. Older children can even help out decorating the nursery.
Prepare for changes in their routine
Sticking to a normal routine with more than one child is one of the trials and tribulations all parents face. The best thing you can do is to prepare your first child early on. Outline the changes a new baby will make to your routine as a family, and begin to adjust times accordingly. This will make it easier for your older child as they won’t have to get used to major routine changes when their new sibling arrives.
Spend quality time together
Set time aside to do something special with your older child on their own. When the new sibling is born you could invite friends and family to spend time with your older child as well. There are many reasons why spending quality time together is important, and it’s vital to make the effort to do so especially with a new baby. This will help your child adjust well to the exciting changes in your family.