My husband and I have been blessed with three darling daughters and we are expecting our fourth child very soon and so begins the transition of adding the newest sibling. I have actually come to love this time and find it to be an amazing opportunity for family bonding and learning for the other kids.
These are a few of the tips that I have found to be very useful and important to ease the transition for everyone involved.
Talk! Talk! Talk! – Don’t miss an opportunity to remind your kids that there is little baby coming soon and that things will be different for a little while. It’s important to prepare them for whats to come and make sure they know well in advance so that they can be comfortable with the idea by the time the new babe arrives. Most kids have a lot of questions and are very curious about the process so use this time to your advantage and spend some one on one time with your kids and answer their questions and make sure they feel special and know that you love them.
Let the others be as involved as possible – Young kids love to be involved with almost everything Mommy and Daddy do so apply this with the new baby. Most siblings are old enough to help change a diaper and by help I mean let them use a wipe to clean up the baby (if it’s not too messy) or hold a bottle while the new baby is feeding. If you are a nursing mother let your kids sit with you while you feed the baby, there’s nothing weird about it to the kids and you can explain to them that it’s the same way animals feed their babies and make it a learning experience.
Use it to your advantage for transitions:
- Big Kid bed – if your kids are close in age and the new baby will need the crib you have make sure to make the transition before the baby arrives. All of our kids are less than 2 years apart so we have done a lot of bed transitions and we are lucky that they all went pretty smooth.
- Take away pacifier – this is the perfect time to make your child feel special by giving the pacifiers to the new baby. Your child can wrap up all the old pacifiers and give them as a gift to the new family member.
- Potty training – this is a tricky one, I know, but if the timing is right it can be a great opportunity for you to get your child using the potty. Have him/her wrap up all of their diapers and wipes as a present for their new sibling just like the pacifiers.
- Don’t shelter them – Young children are incredible little geniuses that notice every little detail and change around them so embrace that and keep them informed. Tell them little bits about what happens when Mommy & Daddy have to go to the hospital when it’s time for the baby to come but feel free to omit the specific details of childbirth. If you breastfeed your newest baby try not to seclude the others from the experience. Let them sit with you while you feed the baby, they can read or look at a book while you nurse. If you’re more comfortable being covered you can use a nursing cover or shawl and then your other children will feel included.
Read – There are a number of books focus on adding new family members. These books are great too because they not only focus adding biological family members but also adopted family members. You can also use this opportunity to get some extra bonding time in before the new arrival by going to your local library and checking out some family books.
Above all – Try to remain calm. I can’t tell you the number of times I have told myself ‘this too shall pass’ so just remember that once the sleep deprivation has ended and your head begins to clear a little that you have a beautiful new child for your other to enjoy.