It’s a big change for an once only child to become a big brother or sister. It can be a threatening and scary experience. If, as parents, you help your child understand the joys of being an older sibling, you can help ease some of your child’s stress. Here are a few tips for preparing for the new arrival:
1. Don’t hide your pregnancy from your toddler. He may overhear mysterious conversations or see that mom is not feeling well and worry. In addition, letting your toddler know gives him more time to adjust to the idea. If you have a high risk pregnancy, you need to decide a “safer” time to tell your child.
2. Don’t blame the baby! If you are unable to pick up your child because of a sore back, tell your child it is because of your back – not because you’re pregnant.
3. Make inevitable changes in your toddler’s life early, so it doesn’t seem like it’s all because of the baby. If your toddler will be giving his crib to the baby, allow your child to sleep in his “big boy” bed several months in advance.
4. Include your child in the pregnancy. Bring him to a couple of prenatal visits, if he’s interested. Let him hear the child’s heartbeat and view sonogram/ultrasound pictures.
5. Talk about the baby and what it means to be an older sibling. Tell your toddler how his younger brother or sister will learn from him and look up to him. If he’s interested, he will also be able to help with the new baby by bringing clean diapers to the diaper changer, showing the baby toys, telling baby all about the world and more.
However you plan for the new arrival, be sure to consider your toddler in your planning. Discuss your toddler’s concerns with him, but don’t bring up concerns he doesn’t mention. There is no need to create worry when there is none. Most of all, enjoy this wonderful time together – it will never be quite the same again.
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