Sibling Preparation Classes: Are They Right For Your Little One?
When a couple discovers that they’re pregnant with their first child they often worry about all kinds of things, like how their life will change, what it will be like to be a parent, and what they’ll need to do to prepare for their babies arrival. When a couple discovers that they’re pregnant with their second child, they typically have one major concern: how they’ll help their wonderful first baby adjust to being an older sibling.
While many parents talk with their toddler or preschooler about being an older sibling and read lots of books about what it means to have a new baby at home, some parents are taking their sibling preparation up a notch by taking their little one to sibling preparation classes.
So, what are sibling preparation classes?
Sibling preparation classes, often offered through a mom-to-be’s hospital or birth center, are designed to help little ones get excited for their soon-to-be baby brother or sister and to give them a few great tips on how to interact safely with the baby.
Most sibling preparation classes start with a hospital or birth center tour. While the hospital may feel like a normal place for grown-ups, young kids are often intimidated by the wide halls, busy rooms, and loud equipment. Taking a tour of the facility their mom will be giving birth at can help a young child feel more comfortable with their mother's absence and with visiting after birth.
After introducing the facility to the child, most sibling preparation classes focus on helping young children understand what living with a baby is going to be like. They talk about how babies eat frequently, cry throughout the day, and need to be held by a caretaker to feel safe and comfortable. When older siblings know that their sibling will have a lot of needs, they’re more likely to adjust to their caretakers splitting their attention once they arrive.
Before most sibling preparation classes adjourn, they typically spend some time talking with the children about how to interact appropriately with an infant. They may provide them with baby dolls to practice changing and swaddling or talk with them about the different ways they can help their parent to take care of their brother or sister.
Sibling preparation classes are often fun for both parents and children and are a great way to help little ones get excited about their future brother or sister. Check with your hospital or birth center today to find out if there’s one that’s a good fit for your family!