Nothing’s more exciting than finding out you’re pregnant with the newest addition to your little family. If you already have kids, though, this news can be more confusing than anything else. Introducing older siblings to their baby brother or sister should be a special moment that your family will cherish for years to come. However, among the excitement, it can also be difficult for young children to truly understand what it means to become an older sibling. Here are three tips to help prepare your family for a new baby.
Have conversations leading up to the birth of the baby
When it comes to introducing older siblings to the idea of a younger sister or brother, timing is everything. Start conversations about the arrival of the baby well before the due date. It’s not necessary to tell older siblings right when you find out you’re pregnant. However, when you decide to break the news to your kids, relate the birth of the baby to the time of the year, and explain how the baby is growing in age-appropriate terms. For example, tell your children that the baby will arrive when it warms up outside or around Halloween time. This simplified explanation gives a timing expectation that young kids can understand. When in doubt, let your child’s questions lead the conversation.
Make plans for your older children on the day the baby arrives
Whether you choose to have your older children at the hospital while you’re in labor or you prefer them to stay at a family member or close friend’s house, be sure to make these plans weeks in advance. Let your son or daughter feel involved in the excitement and pack a bag for the day the baby arrives. Fill the bag with their favorite snacks and a meaningful gift to give to their younger brother or sister. And definitely be sure to snap a picture of the moment when your kids meet their younger sibling for the first time--it will be one of the sweetest memories of motherhood.
Tell your older children what it means to have a new baby sister or brother
Most importantly, tell your son or daughter the importance of assuming the role of an older sibling. Make sure, from here on out, they understand it is their job to love and care for their brother or sister no matter what. A sibling’s bond is one of the deepest connections out there--make sure your children know that.
Adding a new member to the family is such an exciting time for everyone. Use these tips to make sure your oldest children feel comfortable, informed, and involved the whole way.
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