Having a second (or third! Or fourth! Or fifth!) baby can be fantastic! Siblings are lifelong playmates that share a bond like no other. But those early days can be a little overwhelming, especially if the older sibling is still fairly young. It may take some time for them to adjust to sharing the spotlight, and they might not quite know yet how to interact with a small, fragile baby. The good news is you’ve got time to prepare! Pregnancy is the perfect time to take steps to ensure your child is ready to be an older sibling.
Schedule Special Dates
You’re likely getting tired at this point, and juggling a young child and pregnancy can feel like a lot. But this time before the baby is both precious and limited. Newborn babies have this amazing ability to immediately age up their siblings. Plus, your older child will likely be adjusting to having to share your attention. Try to counter this by regularly going to some of your child’s favorite places. By having these special playdates during pregnancy, you’re creating memories and helping your child have plenty of one-on-one time prior to the baby’s arrival.
Bring Them to Appointments
Lugging young children to routine appointments can be a bit of a handful, but it will help them understand what on earth is going on! At Celebrate Birth, we encourage the whole family to come to the appointments. Let your older child hear the heartbeat and help with measuring your belly. Encourage them to ask questions. We love including them so they can learn all they can about their new family member!
Let Them Help
When decorating the nursery, invite your little ones to help! You can ask them for ideas for themes and see if they want to help you find some knick knacks for the shelves. If you’re reusing anything from their nursery, show them and explain how much it meant when they were a baby. If you have pictures of your child with that particular momento, show them and explain how wonderful it will be to share it with the new baby.
Include Them in Small Decisions
If you plan on keeping a baby book, ask if your child wants to help. Take them to the store and pick one out together. Ask your child if they’d like to write a letter to the baby and make it the first entry in the book. Afterwards, sit down with them and go through their baby book. This will remind them that, just like this baby, they were deeply loved right from the very start.
There are plenty of children books that will help your little one prepare. A book like You Were the First will remind them that they’ll forever hold an irreplaceable place in your heart while My New Babywill explain the baby’s many needs. Reading these books at least once a week will get them excited and prepare them mentally.
Start Letting Them Play Now
The baby might still be in your belly, but that doesn’t mean your little one can’t interact! Let them sing their favorite songs to your belly. If they have any books memorized, have them lead a storytime. These moments will allow them to start emphasizing with the baby while also making some sweet memories for you!
Pick Out a Gift for the Baby
Gifts at this age are so helpful because toddlers are learning the magic of sharing. Letting them pick out a gift for the baby will utilize this and let them show kindness to their new sibling. Other parents like picking out gifts to give to the older sibling and explain it’s from the baby. This serves as a sort of peace offering that will help create a special bond early on.
Remember, above all, have grace with your little ones! This is such a big transition for them, and it might take some time to adjust. Easing them in as much as possible and letting them exercise kindness and empathy will prepare them and allow those first weeks to go smoothly for everyone!