The dos and don’ts of introducing your child to a new sibling

Letting your child know that they’re going to be a big brother or sister can be a special moment, true, but also a bit daunting. How will they respond to the news that they’re getting a new sibling? Happy? Confused? Angry (eek!)? But never fear, because there are plenty of ways you can subtly prepare you child for the arrival of their sibling without telling them point blank that they will no longer be the sole focus of attention in the house. Read on for our dos and don’ts when introducing your new baby, to your first baby. They grow up so fast…

Do…

Read

There are countless stories out there that will help your child get used to the idea of having a baby in the house. Start reading these stories to him or her to introduce the idea.

Remind

Don’t be afraid to ask friends and relatives to make a fuss over your older child as well as the new baby. A small gift, or simply just some interaction related to and unrelated to the new baby will help make them feel special too.

Spend time

Spend some quality one on one time with your oldest both before the new arrival and after. It’s important to let your child know that they will still get alone time with Mum and Dad even when the baby is here.

Remember

Take out the photo book and look at pictures of your oldest as a baby together. Explain to him or her that we were all babies once, even mummy and daddy and that their sibling will be a baby too. Discuss the type of things you will do with the baby, and explain how they can help mummy and daddy and get to know their new brother and sister. For example, by being gentle with them, giving them a kiss, sharing toys, playing games like Peek-a-boo, and singing songs together.

Doctor appointments

Bring your child along to doctor appointments and, if you can, show them images on an ultrasound and let them listen to the baby’s heartbeat. Getting them involved in your baby’s life at this early stage will help them to make a connection with the baby once they arrive.

Routine

Children thrive on routine, so try to make sure their daily routine isn’t upset too much around the arrival of the baby. If adjustments need to be made, make them gradually and over a set course of time to allow for your child to adjust. Too many big changes at once can be overwhelming.

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Read: Getting ready for a new arrival? Read here for more advice on how to tell your children about their new sibling!

Don’t…

Lose your temper

Caring for your newborn while your toddler gets underfoot isn’t going to be easy, but it’s important that your children don’t witness your frustration. Keeping a calm, happy demeanour will help your toddler adjust to the baby’s presence in (what was once) his domain.

Dismiss

Be sure to listen to any questions your child has about their new sibling. Questions are productive ways for children to put their concerns to rest, so by answering them, they can logically deal with any worries they might have about the new baby.

Make sudden movements

Make sure all changes happen at a gradual pace for your child, so they can adjust themselves to the new situation. If you disrupt a child’s routine too much, they can feel unstable and vulnerable.

Stress

If your child seems a little upset or not as happy as you thought when you bring the new baby home, don’t worry. All children are different and they need different things to help them adjust to new situations (and this is definitely new for them!).

Pay all your attention to the baby

When your child comes to meet the baby for the first time remember to make time and space for your child to see you as well as the new baby. To that effect, try to look at your new baby in the cot together with your child, instead of letting him or her peek at the baby through your arms.

Chances are your child will be as excited as you are to get a baby brother or sister. Children rise to the task when presented with responsibility and independence. And your child’s tenderness towards the new baby is sure to melt your heart!

maternity&infant

Originally posted 2016-02-23 10:55:39.