Welcome to the first post of the How To Prepare For A Second Baby ~ blog series. Today I want to share my 7 Tips To Prepare Your First Child For A Sibling.
In my experience kids are not usually the biggest fans of change. Whether it’s a new house, starting school, or in our case, a new baby. The last thing you want is for them to feel in any way pushed aside or left out. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you prepare them as best as you can for their sibling’s arrival.
Don’t have time to read now? Why not PIN ME to catch up later.
Be aware & accept that a new sibling may cause feelings of jealousy in your first child regardless of how much you prepare them.
No matter what you do to prepare your child for a sibling, it’s likely there will be a little jealousy to some degree. After all, a baby needs a lot of care, whether changing a nappy, feeding, bathing or rocking to sleep. Your older child is likely to see some or all of this as attention the new shiny baby is getting and not them.
Those feelings are completely normal and are likely to pass as the baby gets a little older and your oldest gets used to having them around. As long as you can recognize it and act accordingly depending on their age, you should be able to help them feel better.
So, here are my 7 tips to prepare your first child for a sibling.
1) Don’t tell them too early
This especially relates to children under school age. Their perception of time isn’t great and they expect things to happen now. Nine months is a long time for them to wait.
That being said, you still want to give them plenty of time to get used to the idea. Maybe wait until you are showing and you have a little bump they can physically see.
2) Make them aware of the downsides to having a newborn in the house
Let’s be honest, having a newborn in the house is not all sweetness and light. Although it’s nice to talk about all the exciting things about having a new little brother or sister, it’s important, for older children especially, that they are also made aware of the difficulties that come with newborns.
3) Talk to friends and family about being more aware and sensitive to their feelings
A new baby is exciting for everyone and while you’re happy to share the joyful news with your friends and family, it’s also wise to make them aware that you don’t want your first child feeling neglected or pushed aside in any way.
With a new baby come lots of gifts. If someone buys a gift for baby, before or after birth, ask them not to give it to you in front of your older child, unless they also have a gift for them of course.
Once baby is here, try to encourage friends and family not to make too much of a big deal of baby in front of the older sibling. Or, while baby is getting cuddles from Aunty Sue, use this as an opportunity to spend some one-on-one with your older child.
4) Get them involved in the preparation for the new baby
Whether that’s unpacking clothing, helping you to build the Crib/Moses basket, or decorating the nursery. This will help them to feel involved in the whole process. You can use these occasions as one on one time to ask how they’re feeling about having a new little brother or sister, answer any questions they have, or discuss any concerns.
5) Buy them a gift from the baby
Receiving a gift from their new little brother or sister on the day you bring baby home from the hospital will make them feel special and will encourage a positive association with their new sibling.
We are also planning to have our daughter buy her little brother a gift too.
6) Implement any changes that will happen before baby arrives
If lots of changes start happening to your first child’s day-to-day life once the baby arrives, he/she may start to feel resentful. To avoid them associating these changes as negatives caused by their younger sibling’s arrival, try to implement any changes you know will happen before baby arrives.
Things like changes to their routine or activities that you know will have to stop once baby arrives. This should hopefully avoid any resentment towards baby and stop your older child from feeling like these changes are only happening because of the new baby.
7) Have them help out with age-appropriate baby-related chores
This could be helping to change nappies, feeding, or bathing. Try to make it as fun as possible. You want them to feel included and special, you don’t want it to become a chore they feel like they have to do. Don’t forget to praise any helpful, positive, and mature behaviour.
While a new baby can be exciting, after a while the novelty will start to wane, not just for you but for your older child too. Until they get used to the new dynamic, it’s likely they may find things a little difficult to get used to therefore it’s important to prepare them as much as possible for the change that is about to take place in your household.
Subscribe to keep up to date with the next post in the series and get access to
our FREE Resource Library where you can download our FREE Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist as an easy to print PDF file.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my 7 Tips To Prepare Your First Child For A Sibling. Keep your eyes peeled for the next post in the series 20 Things To do Before Your Second Baby Arrives
Do you have any experience in preparing your first child for a sibling? Was it an easy transition from one child to two? I would love to hear your stories in the comments below.