How to Prepare Your Child For a New Sibling

Prepare For a New Sibling
Image via Mindi Stavish

Preparing for a new baby when you already have a child is a very different experience from being a first time mom. In the midst taking care of your other child(ren), attending OB appointments, and preparing the nursery, it's easy to overlook how your child(ren) may be feeling about the arrival of a sibling. With that in mind, I put together several ways you can help your child adjust to becoming a big brother or sister.

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Image via iStock

Way #1

Get them involved early on in the pregnancy. Most OB/GYN offices are family friendly and love having siblings attend the prenatal appointments. Check with your OB to see what their policy is about bringing children to your appointments. My entire family came to my very first appointment. Since the doctor did an early ultrasound to date my pregnancy, it was such a fun way to show the boys that mommy has a baby growing inside of her.

mother and daughter shopping for toys
Image via iStock

Way #2

When shopping for baby clothes and gear ask your child(ren) to pick out an outfit, toy or stuffed animal for the baby. Make it a special event by helping them wrap the present before the baby's arrival. You may even want to have them pick out a “birthday” gift that they could bring to the hospital the first time they meet their new baby brother or sister.

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Image via Amazon

Way #3

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Read simple story books about the arrival of a new baby. Take your child's lead in reading the books. If they don't seem interested, don't push, simply leave the books out for them to explore on their own.

As your due date approaches, start having brief conversations about how life will change with a little baby. Let them know that you will still have plenty of time to play with them, but there will be times when baby brother/sister needs to be fed or have their diaper changed. Here are some of my favorite books on this topic:

My New Baby by Annie Kubler (Age Range: 1-2)

What Baby Needs by Dr. William Sears (Age Range: Preschool-Second Grade)

Hello Baby by Lizzy Rockwell (Age Range: 3-7)

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Image via iStock

Way #4

Have your child help decorate the nursery by drawing a few pictures that you can frame and hang on the wall.

Other fun ideas for organizing your child’s artwork!

A little girl in bed with her blanket, pillow and teddy bear.
Image via iStock

Way #5

Explain to your child that when you are ready to have the baby you will be spending a night or more at the hospital. Involve your child in packing his or her bag for the night. If your child will be spending a night or two at a relative or close friend's house, you may want to do a practice run before the real deal.

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Image via iStock

Way #6

Many hospitals offer a sibling class to prepare big brother or sister for the arrival of a new baby. Check with your hospital to see if this is available. These classes may cover how to hold a baby and how a baby is born. They may also focus on giving kids the chance to discuss their feelings they may have about their new sibling.

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Image via iStock

Way #7

If your child is a toddler or preschooler, purchase a baby doll that they can pretend to hold, dress and feed. This is a helpful way to teach them about how to care for a baby and it also provides them with their own ‘baby' to care for once their sibling arrives home from the hospital.

As I get ready to bring home baby number three, I have two little ones to prepare for the arrival of a new sibling. My oldest is four this time around and seems excited about my growing belly. I'm more worried about how my youngest will handle the new baby. He is very much a mama's boy, so the transition for him may be much harder. I hope we all adjust somewhat seamlessly to our newest addition to the family as we go from two to three children early this summer – but with all new babies and big life changes, I’m sure there may be a few bumps in the road.

What steps are you taking to prepare your child for the arrival of a new baby? Do they seem excited or not fazed by it at all?

{Related: 10 Sanity-Saving Ideas for First-Year Moms}

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What do you think?

How to Prepare Your Child For a New Sibling

Mindi is a working mom with three boys ages 4, 2, and an infant (born June 2013). She spent her first 8 years of her career in Speech-Language Pathology at a Children's Hospital. She currently works with adults and children in home health. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about life as a working mom at Simply Stavish. Her weekly feature, Words in the Sand, teaches parents how to grow their child's s ... More

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4 comments

  1. april says:

    My little girl will be five and she at first didn’t like the idea of having twin sisters but is now use to the idea. She got to be there through the whole thing except for being in the delivery room. She is very possessive of her two "babies". 🙂

  2. Awesome ideas, Mindi!

    Here’s how we talked our our kids, including answering that awkward question, "How does the baby come out?" http://childrensmd.org/browse-by-age-group/pregnancy-childbirth/talking-to-toddlers-about-pregnancy-childbirth-and-breastfeeding/

  3. EbyMom says:

    My son was 2yrs when I had my baby girl and all through the journey he was with me feeling my belly. when I gave birth he was just watching his sister in the hospital his mind was that baby will be left at the hospital. the day I was discharged he cried and refused to enter the car but now he is so fond of the baby sister. once he sees another baby in the television he will rush to take a look at her sister.

  4. crystal says:

    I have a son that is turning 2 may 12th and we are 28 weeks along with our daughter. He seems to be doing okay with everything so far. He is such a mommys boy tho cause I have been a stay at hom mommy and so I think he is going to jealious once his sister comes

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