Few things are as exciting as adding a new baby to the family. As exciting as this time in your life can be, it can also be stressful and wrought with anxiety. Many parents who have at least one child at home, may be concerned about how to break the news to the older sibling. This is a common feeling and anxiety, but we have some tips that may help!
The way you break the news to your child will depend on the age of your current child, or children, as well as their own unique temperaments and personalities. A lot of older children may be just as excited as you are, but others may be feeling more resentful or jealous of the impending new arrival.
Toddlers: Toddlers may not understand much about what it means to add a new baby. They are still very attached to you at this age, and may not realize what it means to be an older sibling, and that’s okay. Some ways to tell kids that are this age is by reading books to them about being a sibling and making an effort to do something special for them when the new baby comes. Reassure them they are still loved, getting them a new gift, or letting them have some alone time with another parent, friend, or family member so they don’t feel so left out are some good ideas to get you started.
Preschoolers: At this age, children are more likely to be sensitive to change and feel threatened by the idea of a new sibling in the household. Wait a while before telling your preschooler about your pregnancy, and start explaining to them what you are doing when you’re setting up a new nursery or buying baby clothes, read them books about being an older sibling, or see if there is a local sibling class available near you. Be honest with them, reassure them they are loved, and involve them in planning for a new arrival. If possible, try to finish potty training or other major changes in your child’s routine to help prevent them from feeling so overwhelmed and regressing.
School Aged: Older children are less likely to be so bothered by a new sibling, as they understand more complex situations than younger kids. Still, though, they may be more resentful of the attention the baby is getting. Again, explain to them the new arrival in terms they will understand, have them help with preparations for the new baby, have them come to the hospital soon after the baby is born, and make them feel as though they have an important role to play in caring for the baby. Don’t overlook their needs and activities, and reassure them how much you love them and make time to spend with them as well.
To learn more about how to help your child through this time of transition, click here!