Love | Keep | Treasure
14 May, 2018
Adding a new baby to the family is an exciting time, especially as you’ve done it all the first time around. Knowing to expect sleepless nights and multiple nappy changes are simple, but it can also feel like a daunting prospect when you begin to think about the other small people in your life.
With worries about the changes to the daily dynamic of the family, and fears of how prospective siblings are going to take the new arrival, preparation for a second baby is less about the technicalities of pregnancy, and more about preparing the family.
So, as Prince George and Princess Charlotte welcome a baby brother, we’ve shared our tips for preparing siblings for that new baby to ensure there’s a warm and fuzzy feeling for everyone.
Small children will not understand how demanding a small baby can be. And while many parents and family members will be quick to get the sibling excited for their new ‘playmate’, it’s best to ensure that they know early on what to expect from a baby. There will be many comments thrown their way that they won’t understand, such as “Aren’t you excited to be a big brother?” etc.
This can feel very daunting to a young child when they don’t understand what this means or what is expected of them. Therefore, reading books about new babies and being a sibling is important for them to gain a sense of understanding about the situation and be provided with a sense of security.
Visit Other Babies
If you have the opportunity to visit friends or relatives with babies ensure to add a few play dates in the diary with them before your new arrival. This way the little one can get a sense of what it’s like to be around a baby and how they act.
Establishing as much understanding from early on can be greatly beneficial in their acceptance of the new arrival.
As babies are generally quite boring to little people in the first few years, these experiences are ideal for making them understand exactly what to expect from their new baby brother or sister.
Stick to Established Routines
If you currently have any established routines with your child, such as bedtimes or breakfasts, it’s essential that you stick to these when the baby arrives.
These routines are important for the child in creating their security at home.
However, if you’re beginning to think that you won’t be able to commit to such routines once the baby arrives start adjusting it.
Whether that’s getting your partner to do the routine, or shortening it a little.
Changing the routine entirely once the baby arrives will be a shock to the system, and give the little one concern that things are out of their control.
Reduce the need for change at all costs. This is often the most common area of change where children will begin to misbehave.
Don’t Blame the Baby
While pregnant, all the fun and games you used to have with your little one can become much more difficult, and it’s easy to say things such as, “Mummy can’t run that fast because of the baby in her tummy”.
When you comment in this way about the baby, you’re indirectly blaming the baby for the fun that can’t be had, and children will pick up on this and begin to resent the baby for holding its parents back. Therefore, try to be conscious of the language you use, and how you comment on your changing body.
Make Them The First Visitor
Once the baby is born your child should be the first visitor to the hospital to meet their new sibling. Whether they arrive with grandparents or your partner, ensure they are amongst the first so they understand their importance in the family dynamic.
Give a Gift
Giving a gift to your child from their brand new baby brother or sister is a common way in which to help the child establish positive feelings about their new sibling.
However, if you feel this may not help many people have begun to write a letter from the baby to the child. It’s quite a quirky trend that is helping many children become more familiar with the baby from day one.
Lead by Example
Juggling more than one child will be a stressful experience in the early days. Especially as all family members will be trying to get used to the new addition and what that means for the usual day-to-day routines. But even amongst the stress and chaos, it’s important to not let it get you down in front of your child.
Negative emotions and stress can impact the child and make them feel resentful towards their sibling, as they feel the baby has caused this.
As children are led by example, anything you do or react to, they will copy.
If things do become overwhelming, take yourself away from the situation for a few minutes.
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