So, you’re expecting baby number 2, congratulations! This is amazing news and I’m sure everyone in your family is delighted… well, all except maybe 1.
For your firstborn the prospect of having a sibling could be the most exciting news they’ve ever heard, or they may think mummy’s/daddy’s attention will no longer be on them.
The concept of sharing can be hard for little ones to understand, but the need to develop this skill increases once you’re expecting a new member of the family, especially if you want to avoid tantrums and unrest in yours and your children’s daily life.
So, we’ve put together some advice on how to prepare your firstborn for a sibling (including our favourite book recommendations on this topic).
1. Get them involved from the start:
As soon as a bump starts appearing, or you receive your first scan pictures, it’s important to show this to your child and introduce them to ‘baby’. Bump bonding can be a great way for your child to start developing care for their sibling.
Or, if you’re adopting, you could talk them through your exciting plans or the information you have about your new arrival.
Introducing them to the baby may be a great opportunity for you to ask them questions such as “are you excited for a new brother/sister?” and “you are going to be such a good big brother/sister, aren’t you?”.
This may help to uncover any anxieties or fears they have and therefore allow you to talk them through their worries and put their minds at ease.
2. Prepare them for their new “role”:
Get your child excited about their new role! Tell them how they could one day teach their younger sibling important life skills such as playing a great game of football, how to wash their hands, how to give a great hug, etc.
You could also purchase your little one a t-shirt that says, “I’m going to be such a good big brother/sister”.
This will help them to realise how important they are going to be to their sibling from day one and how exciting this new responsibility will be.
3. Read them books about becoming a sibling:
During your pregnancy/preparation for a second child, it’s a good idea to read books to your child that discuss how to adapt to becoming a sibling.
Your little one may feel like they can relate to the characters in the book and feel better prepared for what is to come. You may notice them saying “I’ll be just like (character name) once the baby is here”.
Relating to these characters will help them become more familiar with the idea of becoming a sibling.
Here are some great, highly recommended, children’s books that discuss this topic:
Topsy & Tim- The New Baby by Jean and Gareth Adamson
This book is an excellent way to introduce your child to the idea of having a sibling.
It discusses the potential difficulties and jealousies your little one may have when a new baby is brought into their life and addresses it in a positive and inspiring way.
It’s a sweet and heart-warming read.
I’m Going to be a Big Sister! / I’m Going to be a Big Brother! By Brenda Bercun
This is a great book for preparing your child on what to expect when a new baby enters their life.
It also provides parents with a way to discuss complex issues such as labour and delivery.
You and Me by Rachel Fuller (From her 4-part New Baby series)
This book handles the excitement and anticipation the arrival of a new sibling can bring onto your little one.
It also addresses the worries and confusion it may cause and helps to prepare your child for new beginnings.
4. Involve them in decisions about the baby:
Don’t be shy about discussing the baby around them, unless you know it’s upsetting them (if that’s the case you may need to work harder to address their concerns on a 1 to 1 basis). However, if they are excited or are warming up to the idea then talking about preparations for the baby with them will show them that you value their contributions in planning for the new arrival.
Get their opinion on a name you’ve been considering or ask them about what colour baby’s nursery should be.
Involving them in these discussions will help your child get excited about their new sibling. and once the baby arrives, they will feel like they’ve been a big part of preparing the family for their new member.
5. Don’t worry if it isn’t a smooth ride from the start:
Remember, this is a very big change for your firstborn to adapt to, they may become clingier because they feel like their parent’s attention has now been taken away from them.
It’s important to not simply ignore this change in behaviour, do your best to find some time to have one-on-one moments with them. Schedule special mummy/daddy days and use this time to understand how they feel about the change in their family.
This will hopefully create an environment for them where they can express any worries or talk about their new role as a big brother/sister.
It’s an exciting and strange time for little ones when a new baby enters their life, but as time goes on an undeniable bond will develop, which will delight and complete your ever-growing family even more.
I hope you found this useful and our advice helps ease any concerns you may have.
Congratulations again, and good luck for your new arrival.
The ChewyMoon Team