Imagine if your husband came home to you today and said this… “Guess what, honey? I have great news that I am so excited to share with you! I’m getting a new wife! Don’t worry, I’ll still love you just the same, and we’ll still do lots of fun stuff together, but now we’ll have someone else to share all that fun with us. She’s not coming for about 9 months, so you’ll get to help me get the house all ready for her. You can go shopping with me to buy her gifts and help me get her room ready. Won’t that be fun?” Umm….yeah…you’d be less than thrilled. In fact, he’d be lucky if he even got to finish the second sentence!
Tip #1: Use children’s books – books are a wonderful way to introduce new concepts or teach lessons to your child.
Tip #2: Have siblings exchange a special gift at the hospital. When “big sister” arrives, the new baby can be waiting with a gift for her!
Tip #3: Plan for big sibling’s arrival at the hospital.
If a family member or friend will be bringing your first child to the hospital to see you and meet baby, think about how this is going to happen. Again, think about that “I’m getting a 2nd wife!” scenario. This could be a very emotionally overwhelming experience for your child to walk into a room and meet his/her little sibling for the first time, especially if s/he’s gone a few days without seeing you or dad and is feeling particularly vulnerable. Seeing Mummy holding the new baby could be very overwhelming, so it may also be helpful to have someone else hold the baby while big brother/sister and Mummy get some cuddle time first.
Tip #4: Find special one-on-one time with your first child. This is important both before and after the new baby arrives. Let your child choose what s/he wants to do and make it a really special outing that they will remember. No matter how much your child ADORES his/her new sibling, it’s important to give that one-on-one time, too!
These tips are just a small sampling of what’s worked for others as they transitioned from a family of three to a family of four. Older siblings will love their new baby brother or sister, but they also need to figure out their changing role in their family and how to share attention with another (very needy) human being! So… what’s worked for you? Do you have any tips to share?