As a parent, you may be both excited and nervous when you discover you are expecting your next baby. Having gone through pregnancy before, the experience may not be as daunting as the first time. However, you have a new challenge to face—preparing your elder child for the new baby.
You cannot predict how your child will react to the big news. Some children will be happy, while others may not be too enthusiastic about it. It is also possible that children who are initially excited about a new baby, later become worried about how it will change their situation. So, it is necessary that you help your child to understand, accept and prepare for this big change.
Here is how you can make this transition to big brother/sister easier for your child.
Breaking the News
Make sure that you share the news with your child before they hear it from anyone else. How you choose to do this should depend on your child’s age and interest level. Keep the news short and cheerful, and be ready to handle their reaction whether positive or negative.
Reassure them if they seem worried, and focus on the benefits they will enjoy as an older sibling. If they have questions, answer them as is appropriate for their maturity level. Help your child understand when the baby will be born, by relating it to the season or a holiday close to the date.
Ease the Transition
There will be many changes when a new baby arrives, and this can cayse your child to worry. Prepare them for it by slowly easing them into the new routine. Don’t make any major transitions like moving your child to a different bed or starting school, too close to your delivery date.
This is because your child may associate this change with the baby’s arrival and resent it. Either make these changes well ahead of your delivery or put it off until a few weeks after the baby’s birth.
Tell Your Child What to Expect
Discuss your plans for your child’s care during the delivery period, tell them what to expect and who will take care of them when mommy is at the hospital.
Also tell your child how their new little sibling will cry a lot, require attention, and will not be able to play with them until they’re much older. Draw parallels between how they were as a baby, and they will relate better to their sibling.
Respond with Empathy and Reassurance
Your child may express jealousy or anxiety during your pregnancy or after the birthing. Always reassure them and tell him how special they are. Spend quality time alone with the oldest even after the baby is born, so they are comforted.
Involve them in picking the name, choosing baby clothes, and decorating the nursery, this way they won’t feel left out, and they will feel much closer to their new sibling. Allow them to hold the baby, and enjoy spending time together after birth, so they can bond better.