The transition from one to two children is a significant. Just as it’s a big change for you as parents, it’s an even bigger one for your firstborn. Here are some helpful tips to prepare your older child for the new baby!
Tips on How to Prepare an Older Child for New Baby
Before the New Baby Arrives:
Give the Night Time Routine to Daddy
Start handing over the evening responsibilities to your hubby. When the new baby comes, your eldest will be needing a lot of consistency to help cope with the many changes. After my second child was born, my older son was adamant that his evening routine be exactly the same as it was before baby brother was around. So transition bath time and bedtime to daddy while you’re pregnant- that way, after baby comes, your eldest will have the same routine.
Read Books on Becoming a Big Brother/Sister
To familiarise your older child with the idea of having a new baby in the house, here are some great books that are available at the library!
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- I’m a Big Sister by Joanna Cole
- I’m a Big Brother by Joanna Cole
- I Am a Big Brother! by Caroline Jayne Church
- I Am a Big Sister! by Caroline Jayne Church
Prepare a Gift Exchange
Prepare gifts to be exchanged at the hospital for when your eldest meets baby for the first time. Your son/daughter can help pick out a gift for the new baby, and you can have a gift ready for your firstborn “from baby” as well.
After the Baby Arrives
Here are some tips and ideas on what to do once baby arrives.
Have a meaningful talk with your older child. Even if you don’t think he or she will understand, try to communicate your love for him or her.
Find one-on-one time with your firstborn. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, try to find alone time with your eldest child. Read a story, play a game, do something fun together.
Include the older sibling when you’re caring for baby. He or she can be get involved by:
• getting a new diaper
• patting baby’s arm/leg while mummy is breastfeeding or bottle feeding
• putting used bottles in the sink
• singing to baby
Talk to your infant and tell him or her the ways you’re spending time with the older sibling. When baby arrives, your older child will hear a lot of “Not now, mummy needs to change baby’s diaper” or “Mummy cannot play with you, I need to feed baby” or “Wait a while, mummy is holding baby”. You get the picture. So when you can, try to communicate to baby when you’re “prioritising” the older child as well. That way, the older child can see that you still care for him or her.
Some examples of this last point include: When you’re putting baby down to rest/play you can say “Wait a few minutes, Mummy is going to play with your older brother/sister”, “Wait one moment baby, Mummy is going to read your sibling this book”, or “Baby, I’ll play with you more in a few minutes after I carry your brother/sister”
Enjoy this beautiful transition as your family grows! It’s a joy to watch your older child learn to love someone new.