A new baby will mean some major changes in the house hold. Parents who are expecting their second, third, fourth etc. child know that they will have to now deal with that new “big brother or big sister”. Children can be quiet excited about having a new baby brother or sister, and they can be very loving and caring towards the new baby. Children can also exhibit jealousy, and aggressiveness towards the baby. As a parent, you can help prepare your child for the new lifestyle change that is about to happen.
How to prepare your child/children for the arrival of a new baby?
- Tell your child in advance.
- If your child/children are very young, you can tell them about the new baby 3-4 months before baby is due.
- If your child/children are older, you may like to tell them right from the start of your pregnancy.
- You can say things such as:
- We are having a new baby because we are a growing family.
- There are lots of families that have many brothers and sisters.
- Talk with your child about babies – tell them that:
- Babies sleep lots
- Babies cry sometimes
- Babies cannot move around a whole lot to play
- Show your child/children photos of when they were babies
- Involve your child in the preparations
- Make changes in your child/children’s routine in advance.
- This may include moving your child out of a crib and into a bed.
- Arrange for childcare
- Tell your child/children who will be looking after them when the time comes for the baby to be born.
What do you do when the baby arrives?
- Let your child visit you in the hospital
- Maintain your child’s routine
- Involve your child in the care of the new baby
- Make your child feel important. Spend quality time with your older child so they feel important.
- Encourage your child/children to be gentle
- Plan Ahead for the baby’s feed times – make sure your older children are busy and in a safe place.
A new baby can bring on a whole new world of emotions for a child. Just like adults, Children need time to adjust to the new routines and daily activities a baby can bring about. As parents, to help make these transitions smoother, we need to continue to give our older child/children attention. We need to praise their good behaviors We need to make time to spend alone with our older children. Take your older child/children on a baby free day! This will help them to remember that they are still a very important part of your life. Keep reassuring your children that just because there is a new baby in the home does not mean that you stop loving or caring for them. As a parent or caregiver, show all your children that you love them all – show them that they are all special and have a lifelong spot in your heart.