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Tips for Preparing for a New Sibling



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Tips for Preparing for a New Sibling
Preparing for a new baby is fun and exciting however it can also be a little traumatic for the older sibling... especially when they begin to realize they will no longer be mom and dad's center of attention. For some children, this will take some time to get used to. For others, they will embrace the idea of being “mommy's little helper” and will often do things without even being told if it comes to preparing or even caring for the new baby.
Here are some tips on how to navigate this life change with your first born children.

Be Honest!

Be honest with your child! Answer their questions and explain how things work. Find a picture that details the baby's growth over the term of the pregnancy and allow your child to watch the baby grow while letting them talk to mom's belly. Tell your child what to expect and let them know the baby won't be a ready-made play date, but someone that will require a lot of time and attention. They will require around the clock care and may even make it difficult to sleep but on the other hand, make sure your child knows that the baby will not take their place. You will not have to split the love between them as your heart will double in size!

Explain and Reinforce How Important Their Role Is As the Big Brother/Sister

One of the best ways to prepare a child for a new sibling and prevent any jealousy is to explain to them what their role will be in the baby's life and reinforce just how important they are to both you and the baby. As a “big brother or sister”, it's their job to help look out for them and the importance of their role is immeasurable and should be celebrated. It gives them a sense of responsibility and inclusion that allows them to feel like they are both needed and wanted, as well as loved and cherished.

Little boy kissing his newborn baby brother

Include Them In Every Step of the Process

Fear of the unknown can be a huge problem. Children like to maintain some type of order or control in their life. A new sibling can throw their world off of its charted course, so including them in as much of the preparation as possible is essential for allowing them to remain in their comfort zone and ease them into this transition. Invite them to help you set up the nursery or shop for baby items. Including them in the process will help them to maintain a handle on what is going on around them. They won't have to worry about where they stand in the family because they will be a part of everything that is going on.

Make Sure They Receive Individual Attention Focused Only On Them

When a baby is introduced into the family, the older sibling sometimes loses a part of their identity. They are still the little, unique individual they always were, so treat them as such. Do things with them that they enjoy. Spend one on one time with them so they know they are still just as important as the new baby. This will prevent some of the regression and tantrums they may exhibit if they feel they are getting lost in all the excitement over the new baby.
Just because a child is small doesn't mean they are incapable of understanding what is happening. Even the littlest hands can put items away or help you carry things around the house. Give them something to do that signifies their importance and you will be establishing the bonds between the siblings long before the new baby is even born.