A new baby in the family is a massive change, not just for you as parents, but for your children as well. If they were an only child, they will have to deal with no longer being the center of attention. If they were already one of two, three or even four, they may feel now that your focus is even further divided than it already was. It’s important that no matter what, you break the news to them in the right way and involve them in the pregnancy and caretaking of their new little brother and sister as much as possible. A new addition to the family is most definitely something to celebrate, not pout about!
Breaking The News: Be Extra Nice
Since this is a big piece of news you’re about to drop on your little one, do so gently. It can’t hurt to set the scene. Perhaps set up lunch outside on your kids picnic table and enjoy a chat about the new baby in the sunshine with yummy food. It always helps to have a fun, calm and happy environment when you break the news.
Only you know your child and how they are likely to react. However, in many cases, especially with younger children, it can’t hurt to have a present or treat waiting in the wings in case things go south. Not to mention having a little incentive ready can show them how you haven’t forgotten to show them love and affection just because a new baby is coming along. Perhaps set up a new sandpit in the backyard for your kids to play in, or get them a new fun board game that you can all play as a family. Spending quality time together is crucial now, to ensure they know you are all still there as their support system.
While Pregnant: Don’t Be Shy To Discuss
Sometimes things get easier to comprehend when you talk about them heaps, especially when this involves young children and toddlers. Emily Duffell from Sleepy Starz.com shares her tips on preparing a toddler for the arrival of a new baby:
“Preparing a toddler for the arrival of a new baby can be tricky. What you can do is talk to them about what’s happening, practice role plays with dolls, and when the baby does arrive set aside special ‘mummy/daddy and toddler time’ which could be reading a book or something similar.
It is also really important to make sure that your toddler is already sleeping well by the time the new baby arrives. As a sleep expert and mum who has experienced difficulties with getting my daughter to sleep, I know how important this is for new parents and the health and well-being of the whole family. This is why I created the SleepyStarz.com Sleep Training Clock, to help parents get their kids to sleep and to develop good sleeping patterns."
For more insightful tips, check out the company’s Facebook page!
After The Birth: Sometimes It Just Takes Time
Hopefully once your baby is born, your existing kids have already adjusted to the idea and are excited to welcome their new sibling into the world! However, if this isn’t the case, don’t worry too much about it at all! Sometimes things take time. I’m sure many of us remember being slightly skeptical when our younger sibling first entered the world, and now we love them to bits!
Kathyrn Khamsi, who is passionate about babies, parenthood and design, combines these loves into her business, Pikku, which offers muslin baby essentials on luxurious double gauze muslin featuring exclusive print collections inspired by nature. Kathryn shares her comments on this topic (primarily directed at an audience with young children under 4 years old):
“It is not just your little ones who are adjusting when a new member joins the family! Everyone is adjusting and settling into a new rhythm. This is true no matter how much effort has gone into preparing your older child(ren) or yourself, as reality is always a little bit different.
If you have young children under 3, give them time. Allow them to grow into their new role as an older sibling. By six months, they should have had enough opportunities to bond with the new baby, be familiar and comfortable with the new family dynamics and routine, and have confidence in their ever-growing place in your heart. It also doesn’t hurt that by this point in time everyone should be getting better rest and baby is a lot more engaging - smiling with recognition, laughing, babbling, and sitting-up.”
Congratulations on your new baby! It’s crazy exciting having a new addition to the family. Once you break the news to rest of your family, including your children, preparing for the new arrival together will be heaps of fun. Remember to stay connected to your little ones as you go through your pregnancy, so they are ready to welcome their new sibling, rather than harbouring resentment and jealousy.