I’ll never forget when my son, our second child, was born. I had this ideal vision in my head that our first child would immediately fall in love with him.
Needless to say, this didn’t happen. She was a bit stand-offish for a few days, but slowly she came around to the idea that he wasn’t half bad. 😉
Let’s be honest, introducing the newest member of the family to your older child can sometimes feel like navigating uncharted waters.
That’s because you are!
As a mom myself, I’m here to assure you that this journey, while occasionally bumpy, can also be an amazing bonding experience for your family!
Obviously, it’s so crucial to prepare your older kiddos for the new baby.
This is a big change in their life and will shake up their world quite a bit.
But here’s the good news, preparation is key (and you’re already starting that process by reading this blog!)
Let’s talk specifics. What can you do NOW to prepare for the new baby?
Start by reading books that talk about siblings and new babies. “I’m a Big Sister” or “I’m a Big Brother” by Joanna Cole and “Welcome to the Family!: A Celebratory Journal for a New Big Sister or Brother” by Scarlet Paolicchi are great options.
They beautifully illustrate the ups and downs of having a new sibling.
Let the Older Sibling Help Prepare
As you prepare the baby’s room, let your older child be involved! Allow them to pick out some nursery decorations, or a special gift for their new sibling. This involvement can help them feel like they’re a crucial part of this new chapter.
Keep Communication Open
Leading up to the birth, and in the weeks following, it’s important to maintain open lines of communication. Ask your child how they’re feeling, let them express any worries or fears, and affirm their feelings.
Let the Older Sibling Help After Baby Arrives
After the baby arrives, it’s a whole new ball game. During this time, it’s helpful to foster interaction between your older child and their new sibling. Let your older child “help” with the baby — maybe they can pick out the baby’s outfit for the day, or sing them a lullaby, or simply talk to the baby. This can help them form a bond with the baby, and feel included in this new phase of your family’s life.
Pre-arrange one-on-one time
But remember, amid all this, feelings of jealousy might creep in. It’s essential to reassure your older child that they’re still loved just as much as before. Maybe you can arrange for some one-on-one time with them – a special movie night or a picnic in the park. It doesn’t have to be grand, what matters is spending quality time with them.
When mine were little, I would take my daughter to pick out books together at the library, going for an ice cream date or just having fun at the park!
Keep Their Routine
Ultimately, keep in mind that as parents, you’re their compass in this new territory. It’s important to keep as much of their normal routine as possible.
Whether it’s their beloved bedtime story, or that funny face you pull while having dinner, keeping some things the same can provide them with comfort.
And remember, every child is different and will react differently. It’s about guiding them through this process with love, understanding, and patience.
I hope this helped offer some ideas on how to make this transition a little more smoothly!
If you’re looking for a photographer to capture these first moments with the older sibling and new baby – I’m here for you!
Click here to see my newborn photography!
Or, maybe you’d like to learn more about Making New Friends: The Easiest Way To Connect With Other New Moms.