Preparing Your Other Children for the Arrival of the Baby If you have other children, you must carefully decide how and when to inform them about the new baby. A youngster of four or older should be informed as soon as you begin informing acquaintances and relatives. He should also be educated on the fundamentals of conception and pregnancy so that he understands how he is linked to his new sibling or sister. Fables about storks and other creatures may appear adorable, but they will not help your child grasp and accept the situation. Using one of the many picture books on the subject may assist you in explaining “where babies come from.” Too much information might be frightening for him.
“Like you, this baby was made from a little bit of Mommy and a little bit of Daddy.” If your child is under the age of four when you get pregnant, you can wait a little longer before informing him. He’s still quite self-centred at this age and may struggle to appreciate an abstract idea like an unborn baby. However, as you begin outfitting the nursery, bringing his old cot back into the house, and sewing or purchasing baby things, he should be informed. Use any questions he may have about Mom’s increasing “stomach” to explain what’s going on.
Picture books can also be useful for very young children. Sharing ultrasound images with him might also be beneficial. Start talking to your older child about the baby within the last few months of pregnancy, even if he doesn’t ask any questions. Take him to a sibling preparation class if your hospital provides one so he can see where the baby will be born and where he may see you. Show him other infants and their older siblings, and tell him he’ll be a big brother soon. Don’t pretend that things will return to normal when the baby arrives; they won’t, no matter how hard you try.
However, tell your youngster that you will still adore him and help him grasp the benefits of having a newborn brother.
Breaking the news to your child between the ages of two and three is especially tough. He’s still very devoted to you at this age and doesn’t comprehend the notion of sharing time, things, or your attention with anybody else. He is also particularly sensitive to changes in his environment and may feel intimidated by the prospect of a new family member. The greatest method to reduce his jealousy is to involve him as much as possible in the baby’s preparations. Allow him to accompany you to the nursery equipment and layette store.
Show him images of himself as a newborn, and if you’re recycling some of his old baby equipment, let him play with it before getting it ready for the newcomer. Significant changes in your preschooler’s routine, including as potty training, transitioning from a crib to a bed, transferring bedrooms, or beginning nursery school, should be accomplished before the baby comes.
If it isn’t possible, postpone them until the infant has settled down at home. Otherwise, your child may feel overwhelmed when the stress of his own changes is combined with the disruption brought by the baby’s birth. Don’t be surprised if news of a baby’s impending birth causes your elder child’s conduct to regress slightly. He may demand a bottle, request to return to diapers, or refuse to leave your side. This is his method of requesting your affection and attention while also convincing himself that he still has it. Instead of objecting or instructing him to act his age, simply give his requests without becoming irritated.
A toilet-trained three-year-old who demands a diaper for a few days, or a five-year-old who needs his outgrown (you thought long-forgotten) security blanket for a week, will quickly return to his usual routine once he understands that he now has the same importance in the family as his new brother. Similarly, an older sister who wishes to resume nursing will lose interest shortly. Regardless of how busy or distracted you are with your new baby, make time each day for you and your older child. Read together, play games, listen to music, or simply converse.
Show him that you care about what he’s doing, thinking, and feeling, and not just about the baby. but also about his entire life. To make your older kid feel important, you don’t need to spend more than five or ten minutes every day of protected time when the infant is asleep or being cared for by another adult.