Its an exciting time for everyone when you are expecting a new baby. But for young children it can be a very unsettling and emotional time. After all they have been use to you giving them all of your attention and now a new baby is taking all of your attention , pretty much all of the time.
Here are my top tips to help them adjust as smoothly as possible.
1.Get them involved
Try to get your child involved right from the start of your pregnancy. This can be simple things like looking at ultrasound photos, singing and talking to your growing bump. Show them photos from their ultrasound and tell them what they were like as a baby. This will allow them to see that they have a lot in common and they may even see the new baby as a potential friend.
2. Don’t push
Not all children will be overjoyed to meet their new sibling so dont push them to kiss or hold the baby. Follow their lead.
A great trick I used with my daughter was that the baby would be arriving with a gift for her and we talked about what she would like.
When my husband brought her to the hospital to meet her brother the first thing we did is show her the baby (who was a sleep in the fish bowl) and then said “look what the baby brought for you” and passed her the wrapped gift.
She was delighted and thanked the baby.
But don’t panic if they want nothing to do with them for a few weeks.
Choose a time where your child isn’t due a nap or will be hungry. Maybe stop for a treat on the way to meet the new baby so its kind of an adventure.
4. Little helpers
Get the involved with the day to day carrying for the baby. Turn fetching nappies and wipes into a game, remember to give them plenty of praise and a big cuddle when they do.
Even with the new baby, try and stick to your normal routine as much as possible. So things like bath time and bedtime are kept the same. As tempting as it might be, don’t keep your child out of nursery or school as this may disrupt your child. The less changes that happen for them, the better.
Feeding your baby can cause your child to feel left out. You could use this time to have them bring over their favourite story book and you can read to them while feeding baby.
If you are wanting to move you child into their own room, get them to give their dummy up or any other big changes, get this done and out of the way a good few months before baby arrives.
Having a new sibling to deal with is big enough for them to deal with, they really don’t need anything else to worry about.