Preparing Your Child for a New Baby
Many of our forum members are pregnant for the second, third, fourth or even fifth time. We wish them all a wonderfully healthy, happy pregnancy and are here to support all our mums whatever life stage they are at. We often discuss on the forum how best to prepare a child for the arrival of a new baby. When should we start talking to our children about the new baby's arrival? What is a good way to approach this subject? How do we deal with the questions and emotions this brings about?
We would love to hear your views and experiences about preparing a young child for the upcoming arrival of their sibling.
Here are some tips and anecdotes that forum members have shared about this subject so far:
- Many parents choose to wait until the bump is showing to start talking to a younger child about the new baby. The physical change in their mum's body helps to direct the conversation and it is easier for them to understand what is happening.
- If you have friends who have recently had a new addition to their family then this can be a great way to talk about the changes that happen when a new baby arrives.
- Even for older children, lots of parents wait until the second trimester to start sharing the news of the new sibling with their children in case a miscarriage tragically occurs. This is a personal decision for each family to make.
- There are some excellent books about welcoming a new sibling to the family including 'There's a House Inside My Mummy' by Giles Andreae and 'The New Baby' by Anne Civardi.
- Listen to, and acknowledge, your child's feelings. Let them know that it is ok to feel upset. There will be big changes for everyone to get used to and this can take time. Your children will learn by experience that a new baby does not take away love from them - there is just more love to go round.
- Many children find that using role-play with a dolly helps them to understand, and prepare for, the practical changes that will occur when the new baby arrives (such as mum and dad needing to do lots of nappy changes and the baby needing to be frequently breastfed).
- Clearly explain (perhaps with the help of pictures, charts and stickers if you have a young child) who will be looking after your child when you have the new baby. Having a few practice runs of this can help your child to feel settled, safe, confident and even excited.
- Celebrate together!