How to prepare your firstborn for the arrival of their sibling
You’ve got everything ready and organised for your new arrival, their nursery is finished, all their tiny baby clothes are neatly folded, and you’ve tested folding and unfolding the pushchair 100 times. Come on baby we are ready for you! But, have you taken the time to prepare your first born for their sibling's arrival?
There’s a new kid in town and your firstborn might not like it. Remember, introducing a new family member to the family is an adjustment process, offer patience and understanding to your first born. While a sibling is a special gift to be treasured, there may be times of jealousy and negative feelings directed at the baby. No matter how old or young your firstborn is, they will have some adjusting to do when a brother or a sister comes on the scene.
Here are a few tips that we hope will make the process run a little bit smoother for both the parents and your first born.
Tell them the news
When is a good time to tell your first born the baby news? It is important that you tell your child early on about the new baby. The best time to tell them is around the time you are telling everybody else. Not only do they need time to adjust, but you also do not want them to hear it from someone else first. Position the news as an exciting new adventure and boost them up by telling them they are going to be such a good big brother or sister.
How they react to the news is always unpredictable, they could be super curious and ask 100 questions, some of these will be easier to answer than others – a favourite is always how are babies made. They could also just be sad or confused by the news.
Once the news is out let your child hear you talk about the "new baby" and feel your excitement. They may not understand why you are excited, but your attitude will rub off on them and they will feel excited too.
Get them involved
Depending the age of your child, it may be hard for them to fully understand what is happening and that there is a human in Mum’s tummy. Making sure they are involved from the beginning is a great way to introduce the baby to them and help them understand a little better.
Little things like getting them involved in helping to decorate the nursery or helping to choose baby names will make your first-born feel part of the journey. Also, showing them the scan pictures will make it feel more real for your child and help to form a bond between the siblings early on.
For little minds it is hard for them to understand fully what is going on. Using the babymoov Babydoppler Connect means you can listen to your baby’s heartbeat and movements from as early as 12 weeks and you can easily share this experience with your loved ones. Involving your little one with this special tool will help them to understand and grow an attachment to the unborn baby.
Teach them how
A great way to prepare your child for the arrival of their sibling is to introduce them to simple parenting as a role play game. This way they will know what the baby will need to be cared for and will also give your child an understanding of what is to come. Simple things like “feeding” their dolls and tucking them safely into bed and pushing them around in a toy pram are all great introductions to how the baby will fit into your day to day life.
Another great idea is to get a mini baby carrier similar to the one you have so they can feel grown up with you too. They can carry around their favourite teddy or doll whilst you carry around their new sibling. This will make them feel included and they will love to imitate Mum and Dad whilst out and about.
Let them help
We all know from the first time around just how much time and attention a newborn needs, but there are many ways a big brother or sister can help with the daily tasks to make it a little easier for you. Your first-born can sing bed time lullaby’s or help pass you a clean nappy and could even help you bath the new born. These little jobs can help make a big difference to your day to day parenting jobs and also help your first born feel grown up and secure in their big sibling role.
When you find these little ways that your first-born can help you’re sending multiple messages. Firstly, that you trust them to help and that they do have an active role in the family to be “mummy’s little helper” so they feel like you’re all in this together to help each other.
Make them a priority still
You can help minimise those jealous feelings towards the new baby by focusing as much attention as possible on your older child, so they still feel important and loved. We know a new born takes up a lot of time but help keep the balance by making time for any older siblings as well.
Wherever possible, stick to the routine you had in place before your new one came along. For example, if your daughter has ballet classes, make sure she still gets to go or if you took your child to the park every Tuesday keep up this ritual. It’s important that your toddler doesn’t feel they're missing out because of the new baby.
This is sometimes easier said than done whilst looking after a new born but there are some life saver products that can help you get out and about that little bit easier. A baby carrier is a must and an absolute game changer that will help you run around after your older children whilst still keeping your new born close and safe. If you didn’t baby wear your first child, you definitely will want to when you have 2 or more to look after at the same time. The Ergobaby Omni 360 baby carrier is the perfect answer to your hands free parenting demands. No extra insert is needed, this carrier can be used from new born to 3 years old and offers you 4 different carry position.
Or another handy product that will help you be the multi-tasking super Mum is a foot board. These are super useful and we don’t know how we would have been able to whizz round Tesco without one. Simply attach one to your pushchair and your older child can come along for any ride that you’re taking your new born on without feeling like they are missing out on the fun. We recommend the Uppababy Piggyback Board as it’s made from natural eco-friendly wood and has a non-skid surface perfect for all weather!
Create a bond between them
Give your toddler lots of time with the baby, it’s great for bonding. Along with getting them involved in the day to day tasks, you could also get them to spend quality time together so they can get to know each other. Sit them on the sofa together with the baby propped up with soft cushions and demonstrate how to hold the baby and gently stroke him – supervised by Mum or Dad, of course!
If you don’t show your older child you trust them or you keep the baby to yourself, it’ll only lead to greater jealousy and distance between the two siblings.
A fail safe classic is for your new arrival to “bring a present” for your toddler with their arrival. So when they meet at the hospital or at home, they receive a toy that is all wrapped up that says ‘look what your sibling bought you!’ Flattery and bribery might not work for everything, but in this occasion it’s definitely worth a shot.
Good luck parents! One is hard and two is definitely a handful but it’s worth every single second to see your beautiful children grow up together and form that sibling bond.