New baby

Helping Your Child Welcome a New Baby

Posted on September 27, 2018 : Posted in Common Parenting Challenges, Parenting Tips

New baby

Expecting a baby is a magical and joyous time. If you have older children, preparing for the new baby to arrive is an exciting stage to share with them. At the same time, your older children may feel uncertain and anxious about becoming an older sibling. Here are some tips to help you prepare your little one to become a big brother or sister.

Ask for Your Child’s Help

A big part of growing up is joining in the family life in significant ways. Invite your older child to take a helpful role in preparing for the baby’s arrival. As you set up the nursery, rearrange the house, choose or unpack baby items, and purchase necessities, ask for your child’s help and opinions. It should be a time of bonding and togetherness, so be sure to compliment your child on their hard work and thank them for their assistance. The intentional action will encourage your child to embrace their role of helper before the baby even arrives.

Books, Shows, and Pretend

There are many resources available to prepare your child for a new baby. Many books are available showing how life may change after the baby arrives and allowing your child to imagine the transition before it happens. Classic series like the Berenstain Bears and Mercer Meyer’s Little Critter include books on welcoming a baby. A simple search online will show dozens of options. The popular children’s show Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood also released a series of episodes showing Daniel’s family welcoming a baby to the family (season 2, episodes 1-4).

However, it isn’t only media that can help your child imagine a new baby in the family. Consider buying a simple baby doll for your older child and playing pretend by caring for the baby doll. You can walk the child through feeding, changing, bathing, and bedtime routines with the doll. Also, don’t forget to explain that babies often cry and need their parents’ attention. While your child may be upset by these facts, presenting them at neutral times with low stress will allow your child to adjust more quickly when your baby arrives.

Make Space for All Their Feelings

It is easy as a parent to want or expect your child to feel as joyful as you do about your impending arrival. However, it is important to remember that your child is their own person and will feel a wide range of emotions about the addition of a new baby. For this reason, it is vital to act as an accepting and neutral space for your child, allowing them to express any feelings they have.

If your child shows anger or sadness about the new baby, reflect their feelings back to them and accept them as non-judgmentally as you can. For example, you could say the following: “You are sad that the new baby is coming. You like being mommy’s baby.” By validating their emotions, you help your child feel heard and accepted. In turn, this allows them to move past their negative feelings. Be careful not to shame your child for being unsure about their new sibling. Those feelings are all very normal and essential for your child’s development.

Introducing Baby

When your new baby is born, consider having a trusted adult bring your older child to visit you in the hospital or birth center. When your child arrives, ask a grandparent or other caretaker to hold the new baby, so your older child can have some one-on-one attention from you. Additionally, consider having a small gift prepared for your older child “from the baby.” A new book or shirt that says “big brother” or “big sister” are excellent choices. Once the baby arrives home, try to carve out some one-on-one time with your older children regularly.

Adding a new baby is an intense transition, especially for other children in the household. They often feel the stress and uncertainty without as much understanding. By spending time walking them through the basics of life with a new baby, you ease your child’s concerns and prepare them for the joy of becoming a big sibling. If you are looking for childcare that assists parents in these transitions, consider visiting Legacy Academy Berkeley Lake. We value your family and work hard to help our students as they grow and change.