How We Can Prepare Our Children For Their New Baby Sibling

You are excited to share the news to your child/children that they will be having a new sibling joining them in a couple of months. Their reactions may be excited, angry, jealous, sad, or all in between. This can be a big change for your children, especially if you have one child receiving all the attention. These next couple months, it will be very important to help prepare them for their new baby brother or sister (or both if you are expecting twins!). Here are are some simple ways to help them prepare for the new change:

  • Explain to them that a baby is coming in a way that their age would understand – every age understands the new baby differently. This can mean helping them understand the changes that may affect them, both the good and bad.
  • Explain what the baby will eat and what it looks like. – If you plan to breastfeed, help them know what to expect and how they can help you. If you are feeding by pumped milk or formula, help them learn how they can help with feeding the baby by bottle if they are old enough.
  • Read picture books or watch cartoons about what to expect with a new baby – Help them be familiar with new words such as “brother”, “sister”, and “new baby” or “sibling”. Help them know what to expect with new baby. That they will look cute, but will have moments when they will cry a lot. Below we have a list of books on Amazon that you can read to your child.
  • Let them help you when you plan and prepare for baby – such as buying baby toys, decorating the nursery, or picking baby names.
  • Give them a role or a special job to do while you are expecting or/and when baby arrives – such as them getting water and snacks for you, making sure baby has a blanket, reading to baby, taking time to connect with baby.
  • Prepare your children when you go to the hospital, birth center, or if you are having a home birth – help them understand who they will be staying with and that when you come back from the hospital/birth center that you will be bringing back baby. If you are doing a home birth, prepare them to know what to expect if they are staying and give them jobs they can do to help you. Such as reading affirmations or bringing you water.

As you work on helping your child prepare for their new baby sibling, here are some things to keep in mind of about your child:

  • Expect your child to regress a little – they are used to constant attention, and may start having “accidents” if they are toilet-trained or going back to bottle if they were on a sippy cup. Make sure you and your spouse give your children the attention they need and praise them when they act grown up.
  • Do not overlook your older child’s needs, emotions, and activities – it will be easy to get caught with your newborn that you may unknowingly ignore your older children. Take time to acknowledge their emotions, see/watch their activities, and respond to their love languages.
  • Set time aside to spend time with them – rather that’s just your spouse or both of you, make sure they get some alone time with their parents. This also presents a great opportunity for dads to connect with their older children.
  • It will throw off and change your child’s routine – There’s a lot of changes that come from having a new baby, which will throw off your older child’s rhythm. This can lead to them being overwhelmed in learning all the new things. Remember to be patient as they are navigate these changes, to validate their emotions, and to support them as they try to work with the changes.

Exciting things are happening, your family is growing! Your child is getting a new sibling, a new friend! These changes will be hard, but as you work with your children, they will be excited to receive their new brother or sister.

Books To Read To Your Children

The New Baby by Mercer Mayer

I Am a Big Brother by Caroline Jayne Church

I Am a Big Sister by Caroline Jayne Church

Itty Bitty Newborn: 0-3 Months (Big Brother Learns All About Babies)

Itty bitty newborn: 0-3 months (Big Sister Learns All About Babies)

I’m a Big Brother by Joanna Cole

I’m a Big Sister by Joanna Cole

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