You’ve prepped the nursery, gotten your go-bag ready, and even frozen a few meals. But have you thought about how to prepare your little one for a new sibling?
To your little one, a new sibling is a concept they can not quite be able to understand. Your little one knows there are changes coming, they’ve seen your belly grow, and have maybe even felt your baby kick.
As you prepare yourself for birth, keep in mind your little one and how you can prepare them for a new sibling.
Below are a few ideas to help!
- Don’t assume your little one understands what is going on. Be sure to explain that they have a sibling coming to the home and be sure to make the conversation age appropriate. Recently, we had a 4-year-old that kept asking her mom to put cookies in the oven instead of the bread. Her mom couldn’t figure out what she meant and during the mom’s prenatal visit, we realized she thought her mom had an actual oven in her belly since she was told her mom has a “bun in the oven.”
- With Covid, many kids aren’t used to being around other kids. If possible, try to set up a play date with someone that has an infant. This will allow your child to visually see what an infant looks like. Also, children may sometimes feel protective of ‘their’ mom caring for another baby. Allow this to be a starting point for a discussion on how an infant is different from your child’s age.
- Get your child involved! When starting to decorate ask your little one to help you pick out decorations or furniture. Around month 6, start to discuss with your child what life will look like with an infant – nursing, feeding, diaper changes, bath time. All of these things are natural habits that parents expect but for a young child, it can feel like a disruption in their daily life. The more they understand and are prepared for it, the better they will be ready to welcome their new sibling. You can also get your child a baby doll and carrier. This will mimic the carrier you will use when your baby arrives and help your little have their ‘their own baby’ to care for while you are with your infant. This will be especially important during those first few weeks when you are adjusting to the new addition to your family.
- If you are having a baby shower, be sure to have at least one gift for your child even if it is a big brother or big sister t-shirt.
- Baby/sibling’s new outfit – we all think about the baby’s first outfit for bringing the child from the hospital. How about a sibling’s new outfit to prepare them for when they get to meet their new sibling?
- Remember to say I love you – We assume that kids know that we love them, but words and kiddie snuggles go a long way. As you prepare for the baby, try to take some time for a date with your child. Enjoy those moments with them and let them know that even though you are bringing a new baby to the home, they will forever also be your baby.