It’s a festive time for everyone in the family when the news of pregnancy comes in. Everyone’s celebrating and looking forward to meet the baby. However, there may be one person who probably doesn’t feel as happy—your older child.
Kids may react differently to this kind of news so make sure that you break it to them gently. Depending on age, your older child may have little or more understanding of what it means.
Foster a closer relationship among your kids when a new baby is on the way by practicing these tips:
#1 Let your child know that you understand their feelings
Your older child may feel a bit jealous when your newborn takes up a lot of your time. Reassure them that they will always be your baby too and that you know how they feel. Remind them how they used to be in their sibling’s place and you had to do the same for them as well. Despite the demands of having a newborn at home, ensure you still spend quality time with your firstborn and don’t neglect their needs so they won’t feel left out.
#2 Encourage them to be an amazing older sibling
Kids can be self-centered. They like attention and want their needs to be addressed, including their need for validation from parents. Remind your child how amazing they are and how they can extend their love to the new sibling. Tell them you’ll need their help as the family welcomes a new member and that you know they’ll do a great job guarding their little sister/brother.
#3 Explain the situation very clearly
Depending on what life stage your older child is in, you may have to tailor-fit your explanation to make them understand the situation. The important thing is to tell them a new baby is coming and what the needs of the child will be. Inform your child how they can help and manage their expectations, for instance, that the little one can’t be their playmate right away. Make sure all preparations have been done even before you give birth so you won’t have to deal with sibling rivalry while attending to the newborn’s needs.
#4 Expose them to the idea of having a sibling
To make them understand it better, immerse them in situations that give further context about having a sibling. For example, read children’s books that tell stories about siblings or visit relatives or friends who have newborns so they can see what it’s like.
#5 Help them adjust to the new environment
More than the attention, your older child will also need your support to adjust to the new family setup. They may be wondering what changes it will bring to their life too. Is your child supposed to move to a new room? Will they have to avoid doing things they used to do? Involve them in the family’s daily activities and explain the changes it will bring, as much as possible.