Getting Kids Ready for Another Sibling

Getting-Kids-Ready-For-Another-SiblingMy kids are really excited about having another brother or sister soon. They have been asking for a new sibling for a long time and we’ve been honest with them that we were doing our best to make that happen.

This is a new territory for me. Although I have three children and have clearly done this before, this is the first time my kids are old enough to understand what is going on, and with that comes a lot more explaining about the whole process. I want to make the transition to baby-in-house as smooth as I can for all of them.

My oldest child is seven years old, my middle child is six, and my youngest is now four years old, so they’re all at a good age where explaining what is going to happen is something they will be able to grasp. They’re also all at the age where they will notices changes in their own routine and life with a new baby. My goal is to make that as little of a shock as possible.

Thankfully, you can usually count on those nine months to prepare for the arrival of a new baby. This is a great length of time to get your older children used to the idea. Getting your kids ready for another sibling early on can help make the transition easier, with less hassle and hiccups.

Fellow EverydayFamily blogger, Mindi Stavish has some great tips on how to prepare your child for a new sibling and many of them we are trying to incorporate to help our kids. There are a few more things that we are personally doing to try and make sure our kids are as ready as they can be when their new sibling arrives. You may find some of these tips helpful too:

Tell them early before they hear it from someone else:

I wanted to wait a bit before I told my kids; at least until we saw the new baby’s heartbeat. This is an important thing for us because we’ve had so many miscarriages. Because of the wait, we only told a handful of people who knew we hadn’t told our kids yet. I think it’s important to tell the older kids first and early on so they can feel included and part of the process from the start.

Show them the baby:

A baby growing in mom’s tummy is a foreign concept to kids and so showing them proof can help them grip what’s going on. Take them to the ultrasound appointment so they can see an image of the baby or bring a photo home for them to look at.

Answer all questions, honestly:

My kids have a lot of questions when it comes to babies, and by answering them all – and honestly – it helps them better understand what is going on. I have explained how babies are made, what mommy will look like as the pregnancy goes on, and how babies are born. I will continue to answer their questions as the pregnancy progresses – I’m sure they’ll have many more.

Tell them what to expect from a new baby:

My kids haven’t been around many babies and so we like to make sure they understand what to expect when it comes to babies. They know that babies are very fragile and you can’t play rough with them. They understand that they mostly just cry because it’s the only way they can talk, and that they only feed from mom. I am hoping by doing this, they can understand better what to expect beyond what they think it will be like.

Watch how you phrase:

When it comes to most children, they don’t want a new baby to burden them so it’s important to watch how you phrase things. Don’t say things like, “the baby is making mommy tired” and other things that portray the new arrival in a negative way. Instead, paint the baby in a positive light. A better thing to say would be, “mommy is feeling very tired right now.”

Explain often that you will still love them:

Sometimes kids don’t take to change well, and they may worry that when the new baby comes you won’t love them anymore. Seems pretty irrational to adults, but there are many times kids could feel that way. My own kids have expressed concern in this area and so I make sure to let them know that I love them all and always will, no matter how many kids we have.

Do big changes early on:

If you have to move your kids’ rooms around, or if you plan on potty training before the baby arrives, make these big changes before baby is born. This way, your kids won’t associate the changes with the baby, which is a good thing. You don’t want your child thinking they have to leave their bedroom because the baby is taking over. By spacing the adjustments out and framing the situation just right, you will avoid that jealousy. I am happy that our new baby is due a few months after our youngest starts school. This will allow her to feel like she’s growing up without feeling forced to do so because another child is on the way.

Image via Devan McGuinness (©)

What do you think?

Getting Kids Ready for Another Sibling

Devan McGuinness is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief, which is dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss. Winner of the 2012 Bloganthropy Award and named one of Babble's “25 bloggers wh ... More

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6 comments

  1. Profile photo of CHANA CHANA says:

    My daughter just turned 9 Saturday…and I was a little apprehensive about tell her about a new baby. But she has surprised me and she he overly excited, I have tried my best to try and include her in decisions like names, baby shower themes as well as the cake to have at the baby shower! So I believe she will adjust well having a sibling, but she probably would like to keep her own room though!

  2. Profile photo of Beatrice Beatrice says:

    I suggest including the older siblings in as much of the baby planning and preparations as possible. It will make them feel part of the whole endeavor, not to mention teach a lot of lessons on responsibility.

  3. Profile photo of maybay maybay says:

    My seven year old twins are really excited. They say that now they will have a new friend to play with when they do not want to play with each other. I hope things go smooth.

  4. Profile photo of Chari Chari says:

    This is right up my ally!

  5. Profile photo of EbyMom EbyMom says:

    Explaing often that u still love is very important cos most times they get jealous that their parents love will be transferred to the new baby and they will be ignored.good blog

  6. Profile photo of ambermccurry ambermccurry says:

    I wanted to have my son potty trained before we get pregnant again, good to know I’m doing the right thing. I didn’t want to rush him.

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