As your family grows you are, of course, filled with joy for the new life about to join your cozy family of three. When you brought your first baby home it was a major adjustment for you and your partner. Now bringing home a little sibling means an adjustment for all 3 of you. How do you get your first born ready to be a big sibling?
Involve Them in The Changes
Your child already feels a big shift before the baby even arrives. The addition of new furniture, toys, an entire room dedicated to a human who isn’t living there yet, and the emotion and physical changes their mother is going through.
Find time to make them feel special.
Involve them in the process. Let them pick out a very special new sibling toy, or the first outfit the baby might wear.
Attend a Big Sibling to-be Class
Find a class dedicated just towards helping young children prepare for a new baby.
These classes will often teach children how to hold their new sibling, change diapers, and other ways to be a big help to the new baby. The aim of the class is equally about learning how to care for a new baby, and getting excited about your growing family.
Find Time for Mommy Daddy Dates
It’s important to find special time to spend just the two of you. Come into work an hour late one morning and spend it at a breakfast date with your first born. Or take them to the park after work and have a picnic-style dinner outside. Do a special craft with them where your phone is away, and your focus is on spending time together. We know those cravings could be starting to hit hard- bake cupcakes together.
What you do doesn’t matter nearly as much as the fact that you do it together.
Don’t Change Their Routine
As mentioned above, so much of their life is changing.
Try to keep your rhythm and routine’s close to the same.
If they are in preschool, don’t pull them out. If they aren’t potty learning yet, wait to make that change. If they are still using a paci or other lovey, let them keep their lovey. Stability is important for young children, so keep the same routine.
Prepare for Regressions
Your child may not fully understand what bringing home a baby means. So be prepared to help them through the process.
Prepare ahead of time for your older child to need more of you.
Be prepared for them to have potty accidents, and possibly sleep less. This preparation can come in the form of a postpartum doula. She’ll come to your home and give you time set aside for you to enjoy your older child without caring for your infant. Or have your postpartum doula prepare a very special ‘big kid’ activity that she can do with your oldest.
We hope the transition from family of 3 to family of 4 is smooth sailing for your family. Preparing yourself and your child can make it an easier adjustment for everyone.