If you’re expecting another baby, first of all congratulations! It’s common for you to feel nervous when wondering how well your older child will adjust to becoming an older sibling, and how the family dynamic may change.
It’s National Siblings Day on the 10th April so what better time to share five ways you can help your older children adjust to the idea of a new brother or sister in the family.
Read with them
Reading to your child is great bonding time, so why not select some new books which feature siblings to help them get used to the idea. The ‘New Baby’ series by Rachel Fuller is a great option and takes you through the different stages. You can also use this time to talk through any anxieties they may be feeling or any questions or concerns that they may have.
Do some sibling shopping
Take your child shopping with you to select something for themselves and for the baby that match each other. Whether that’s matching pyjamas, or an ‘I love my sister/brother’ slogan t-shirt, it’s a great way for your child to feel involved.
Get lots of one-on-one time
Even if it’s just to run an errand or go grocery shopping, making the effort to spend one-on-one time with your older child is a great way to support them as they may be scared that they will spend less time with you once the baby arrives. Kids can often feel out of sorts when their schedules change, so validating their emotions is really important.
Give a dedicated gift
When they meet the baby for the first time, have a little wrapped gift waiting for them. Explain that the gift is from their new little baby brother or sister because they’re excited to have them as a sibling. It’s a sweet gesture that can mean the world.
Give them special jobs
Don’t be afraid to let your older child help out - you may be surprised at what they can do! Whether it’s helping with bathtime, or grabbing things like nappies and wipes, be sure to get them involved. Help them to hold the baby and teach them how to soothe by giving gentle pats on the back or talking softly to their sibling. Depending on their age, they could even help by reading or telling a story, or making silly faces.
Another fun technique is to get your child to help monitor the baby through the Owlet Cam and app, ensuring that they are safely sleeping in their cot. You could even make use of the two way audio feature - your older child could help you soothe the baby to sleep, or talk to them when they are waking up.