One Born Every Minute
Tips for Introducing Baby to Older Siblings
If you are expecting a new bundle of joy – Congratulations! That is an exciting time for the family. If you already have a child at home, then you already know about the sleepless nights, endless laundry, and diaper duty ahead, but a new challenge lies ahead as well: Introducing the new baby to older siblings.
Make this transition easier with a few tips, which start when you are still pregnant.
Before Baby Arrives:
1. Tell your current child(ren) about the new baby on the way. Depending on the age of your child, you may wait until you are farther along in your pregnancy to share the news, but including them in this special time can be exciting. If you are worried about questions regarding “where babies come from”, remember to keep it simple. You don’t need to give a “birds and the bees” talk to a 3-year old. When my son asked how the baby would come out, I just said the doctor would take her out! He didn’t need an elaborate answer.
2. Let your children make decisions. You may not want to let your preschooler pick out the new baby’s name, but he or she can help pick out decorations, toys, or clothes. When we were preparing my two boys for their sister’s arrival, I let my 6-year old help pick out the paint for the nursery. I already had two shades of pink that I liked, and I let him to choose which we would use. My 3-year old enjoyed picking out some new toys for his little sister. When children have a say in the decision making process, it will remind them they have an important role in the family.
3. Go through their baby pictures. My son was fascinated with the idea of a baby coming, but he also loved to see pictures of himself as a baby. Each of my boys have a baby album, and we took turns going through the albums to view their baby pictures while I was pregnant with my baby girl. My oldest even liked seeing pictures of my first baby shower to see all the fun presents he received before his birth. It is also a good way to talk to your children about all the extra attention (ie diapering, feeding, burping, etc) the baby will need.
After Baby Arrives:
4. Take a present to baby. Before my daughter was born, my husband and I took our sons to the toy store to pick out a special gift from them to their sister. Then they wrapped the gifts and took them to the hospital when they met her. Right away, it started the relationship between the siblings, and again allowed the older siblings to have an important part in this new addition.
5. Set aside time for each child. Babies take up a lot of time. Yes, they are cute and cuddly, but they also are very demanding. Plan some time for your spouse (or another adult) to watch the baby for even just a half hour, and spend quality time with your older child(ren). Read a book, color a picture, or just go for a walk. Those little moments will be even more precious to your child now that your time is absorbed with baby.
6. Just be patient. Sometimes the transition is hard on siblings and they just need a little time to adapt to the changes. When I brought home baby #2, my oldest didn’t talk to me for 2 days. He just went to Daddy for everything and even though it hurt to have him push away from me for those few days, I knew he would come around again.
These are just a few tips that I learned along the way with my children – what other ways did you introduce your children to a new baby? What worked and what didn’t?
Catch some delivery drama with Lifetime's unscripted series “One Born Every Minute”! Don’t miss the Season 2 premiere November 29 at 10 pm/9c.