4 Ways to Prepare Your Child for the Arrival of Another Baby
Preparing for the arrival of another child is an exciting time. If you already have a little one on board, however, he or she might get frustrated when a good portion of your attention shifts to the new baby.
John Markovich MD, a pediatrican at Group Health – Anderson, shares a few tips to help your current child overcome anxiety – and maybe even get excited – about his or her new role as big brother or sister.
#1: Start Talking up the New Baby Early
Dr. Markovich stresses the importance of talking about the new baby with the older child early on. While it may not be appropriate to bring him or her to the ultrasound, you can still have them feel mom’s stomach when the baby’s kicking or moving around.
However, do not mention the new baby until you’re ready for family and friends to know about the pregnancy so your older child doesn’t spill information early.
#2: Talk About What Kind of Attention a Baby Needs
If your child is a toddler, it can also be helpful to look at old baby pictures and point out how much help he or she used to need. “Remind them, this baby is going to need a lot of help and attention, too, and that they can help out with things,” Dr. Markovich explains.
#3: Consider Giving the Older Child a Small Gift
“There are conflicting views on this, but I always think it’s nice to have a present for the older kid when the baby’s born,” Dr. Markovich points out. While he says many kids realize the new baby did not bring the gift, it can still be a nice way to introduce the new child.
If possible, have your older child visit mom and new baby in the hospital (assuming it’s not flu season) so they can see that new baby is part of the family, “instead of an object that’s making noise and taking time from mom and dad,” he adds.
#4: Spend Some Time Alone with the Older Child
Even if it’s just for 45 minutes, have at least one parent spend time alone with the older child, while the other parent watches the baby, so the older child doesn’t feel neglected. This is especially helpful for staving off sibling rivalries and jealousy.
Last Updated: August 27, 2014