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Becoming a Big Sibling: Helping Your Child Prepare for a New Baby

Posted by Urban Infant Team on
Becoming a Big Sibling: Helping Your Child Prepare for a New Baby

Welcoming a new baby to the family can be both exciting and nerve-wracking for established parents. While some kids look forward to the birth of a new sibling, others might be too young to understand what’s coming their way. 

Toddlers may be excited by talk of a new baby, but then feel caught off guard when the new little bundle full of loud noises and stinky smells actually arrives. Older kids might feel upset by the amount of attention the new baby is receiving, especially if they have been used to being the only (or youngest) child for some time. 

While all parents would love for their children to be best friends from the start, it's important to remember that your older child may have mixed emotions about the new addition, and that’s okay. Preparing your child for the arrival of a new baby includes open communication, reassurance, and involvement in the process.

Big Sib 101
Preparing Kids for the New Baby 

One of the most effective ways to prepare your little one for their new sibling is to talk to them about the baby as early as possible. Explain in age-appropriate terms what will happen and how the baby's arrival will change things. Involve your child in preparations, such as setting up the nursery or choosing baby clothes. This involvement can make them feel important and included.

Read Books About Babies 
Reading books about new babies and becoming a big brother or sister can be incredibly helpful for the siblings-to-be. Stories can provide a relatable context for your child and help them understand what to expect. There are many, many book options available for kids of all ages, so be sure to look for a few that are suitable for your unique family.  

Take a Big Brother/Big Sister Class
Many hospitals and community centers offer classes specifically designed for new big brothers and sisters. These classes can be a fun and informative way for your child to learn about babies and what their role will be. They often include activities like diaper changing practice, holding a baby doll, and understanding the baby's needs. Check with your local hospital or community center for class availability.

Play Pretend with Babydolls 
Playing pretend with baby dolls can help your child understand what it will be like to have a baby in the house, while getting some quality time together. Show your child how you will feed, diaper, and rock the baby by using their dolls. This role-playing can help them learn how to be gentle and caring. You might also talk about the fact that babies can sometimes be loud and need lots of attention as a way to prepare your little one. 

Preparing Yourself for the Transition
As much as you need to prepare your child, it's also important to prepare yourself for the changes ahead. Balancing the needs of a newborn with those of an older child can be challenging, so give yourself lots of grace and set realistic expectations.

Learn What to Expect 
Understanding the dynamics of having more than one child can help you manage the transition better. Talking to your friends and family members who have more than one child about their experiences is a great way to prepare. Just like with your first child though, make sure to leave yourself plenty of time and space to be surprised and learn as you go. 

Spend Quality Time With Your "Big Kid"
It can be helpful for you and your little one to spend quality one-on-one time together before and after the baby arrives. This dedicated time can help reassure them that they are still important and loved. Engage in activities that they enjoy and make them feel special, even if it’s just for 15 minutes a day while your partner has some quality time with the baby. 

Present Ideas for the new "Big Kid"
Giving your older child a special gift can make them feel valued and excited about their new role as a big brother or sister. And if they can be gifts that also make your life as a parent easier, all the better! 

Kids Apron: Be a Big Helper
For kids who are excited to be the resident “Big Kid,” a personalized kids apron is the perfect new sibling gift. They can wear it around the house to help you with your baby-related tasks, or put it on to help make dinner while the other parent manages the baby. Adding their name can also give them a sense of ownership during a time they may be feeling upset by everything they now have to share.   

"Big Kid" Bed: Complete with Small Pillow
Upgrading your child's bed to a "big kid bed" can be an exciting milestone to celebrate with them as you prepare for the new baby. Complete with a small pillow and new bedding, this gift can help your little one get excited about their new role as the older sibling.

Sibling love will come (eventually) so just relax and watch it blossom.
New babies bring a lot of changes, and it might take your older child some time to adjust. By involving them in the process, addressing their concerns, and providing them with special roles and gifts, you can help them embrace their new role as a big sister or brother. Before you know it, you might even be having to save your baby from aggressive toddler kisses or rides in the doll stroller! 

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