When your first child was born, she was the centre of your universe and will very likely have experienced your full devotion as a validation of her presence. Introducing a new child into the mix will certainly have a very dramatic effect on the family dynamic – your first born will now have to share your attention and time – and her toys! – and she may not respond very well to the idea. Follow these tips on how to prepare your first child for the arrival of new siblings:
1. Timing is everything
It’s best to wait until your pregnancy is progressing smoothly before letting your first born know that a new sibling is on the way. You may even let your bump break the ice on the subject. When you feel your toddler is ready to conceptualise a new baby brother or sister, letting her feel the new baby kick may ground the experience for her.
2. How to tell your toddler
Whether you sit her down and break the news or you read books together on the subject, you need to give her time to process this important and life-changing information. Ask her how she feels about having a brother or sister so that she has a space to express her feelings and feel heard.
3. Play it cool
As your due date draws near, try not to emphasise the arrival of your child’s little brother or sister too much as she might grow jealous. Relate the baby to his or her older sister, reminding your first born that she was once also that small, didn’t have teeth or hair, and also needed lots of sleep.
To prevent your first born from feeling left out, do fun things together so that she associates positivity with her new sibling; and give her responsibilities relating to the baby, which will make her feel important and protective of her new sibling.
Visual courtesy of: vseventhgeneration.com, kidspot.com.au, babynature.co.za, pinkymckay.com, babybedding.com