Ask any parent in the world to choose between their children and they’ll never be able to do it! Things are no different for my husband and me. Our little boy and girl are extremely dear to us, and we love them more than our lives – irrevocably and unconditionally. Though we parents know that all our children are equally precious to us, little children can tend to get insecure about the arrival of their new sibling. It is, therefore, important to make them understand that with the new baby coming into the family, your care and love won’t get divided; it will only grow by leaps and bounds. Here are seven ways you can prepare your child for their new sibling:
- Build The Sibling Connection Right From Your Pregnancy – The best way to build a strong bond between two siblings is to strike the right chord between them beginning from the 5 to 6th month of your pregnancy itself. Speak to your child about your baby in a manner that doesn’t come as a shock to him. Use statements like – “Mama and Dada are soon going to bring home a younger sister/brother for you. Are you excited?” rather than “Mommy is going to have a baby”. Ask your child to feel the kicks of his soon-to-arrive baby brother or sister and take him along to the doctor to hear the baby's heartbeat. The closer he is to the baby from the start, the less resistant he will be to change.
- Communicate With Your Child About His Feelings – With your entire concentration shifting to the arrival of your new family member, there are chances that your child may start to feel neglected and left out. It is important that you take a few moments each day and encourage him to speak about his feelings and how he’s faring in his day-to-day activities at school or play. Doing this will prevent your child from experiencing negative emotions like jealousy and dejection.
- Teach Him The Importance Of Responsibility – One of the best ways to instill the traits of responsibility and prudence in your child is by telling him that he has to take care of his little sibling soon. Tell him that it is his duty, as an elder brother to be a caring and a loving towards his baby sibling. Tell him that when the baby comes, he is supposed to be a good boy who must take care of his brother/sister and his Mamma and Dada, too. The sense of responsibility will empower him and make him realize his importance to the family!
- Reassure Him – Little words of reassurance and encouragement can go a long way in preparing your child for the birth of his sibling. Keep reminding him with your positive words and actions about how deeply you love him and how much he means to you. Go out on regular family outings together and make sure at least one of you is present at activities such as a football game or a play that your child maybe involved in.
- Mentally Prepare Him For All Possible Changes – Make sure your child is well prepared for what’s in store after the arrival of your new baby. Let him know that his teeny sibling will cry, eat, sleep and need mamma around most of the time. Tell him that he may not be able to hold or play with the baby immediately on his/her arrival. Amidst all changes, one thing that your child needs to know won’t change is your love for him.
- Read Books And Stories That Encourage Model Behavior – If your child is too young to understand the concept of birthing, familiarize him with the situation in his own ways. Read out stories that describe ideal family situations around the birth of a new baby. You could also make him watch cartoon videos and films that inculcate good habits in him and teach him ideal ways of dealing with the arrival of his baby sibling.
- Take His Advice On Naming His Sibling – One of the most fun (and possibly the most nerve-wracking) tasks during your pregnancy is choosing the name for your baby. Take this as an opportunity to involve you child in the name game. Not only will this make him feel like his opinion counts, but he will also look forward to the arrival of his younger sibling whose name he so fondly thought of. Your child will be more accepting of the situation when he’s an integral part of the process. Even if you don’t want to ask your child to decide a name for his baby sibling, you could still ask him to do the final name selection from a few options that you zero down.
Bringing a new baby into your family sure is a huge responsibility that looms largely on you and your partner. You however, also understand that it is natural for your child to feel bogged down by it, too! Make sure you are empathetic towards his feelings and help ease him into this transition. Congratulations to you and your family on the good news!
About the Author:
Aradhana is from India. She is a veteran writer on topics concerning parenting, child nutrition, wellness, health and lifestyle. As a regular contributor to popular sites like natural news, elephant journal, thehealthsite, naturally savvy, curejoy and MomJunction.com, Aradhana writes to inspire and motivate people to adopt healthy habits and live a stress-free lifestyle.