By Lisa Furuland
It’s hard being an older sibling. For kids who are used to getting all of mommy and daddy’s attention at all times, the arrival of a sibling can put a damper on things. Preparing your little one for a new baby can set the tone for the next phase in their development, as well as their relationship with their new sibling. While jealousy and sibling rivalry are normal emotions, there are ways you can help alleviate some of those negative feelings. Here are some tips on paving the way for baby number two and building a strong, happy and nurturing family unit for the entire brood.
Prepare during pregnancy
The best time to start preparing your older child for a new sibling is during your pregnancy. By making your older child feel included throughout your pregnancy, you’re making them a part of the process. So when do you spill the beans that new baby is on the way? Experts suggest waiting until the second trimester, when your belly is starting to show and your child can actually see there is indeed a baby in there.
How to announce a new baby is coming
Gifting your child with an ‘Older Brother’ or ‘Older Sister’ t-shirt is a fun way to get them excited. Or bake a pre-birthday cake for the baby-to-be. However you decide to break the news, make sure your older one feels included and knows that the new baby will be a big part of their life, too.
How to include older sister or brother before baby is born
Additional ways to make sure your kids feel included in the process are:
• Bring them to your doctor’s appointments so they can hear the baby’s heartbeat.
• Read them age-appropriate books about childbirth and new siblings.
• Ask them to help you think of baby names.
• Visit friends who have babies.
• Ask them to help you pack your hospital bag.
Family matters: Bringing baby home
After you and baby are home from the hospital, you can ask your older one to “help” mommy out. Have your big sib entertain baby by talking to them, tickling their feet or making funny faces and accompany you on stroller walks with the baby. This can give the two of you time to talk.
DockATot founder and mom-of-two Lisa Furuland created the DockATot baby lounger when her first child was born. Learn more about the product at dockatot.com.