8 ways to prepare your child for their new sibling
All they've known is life as an only child, so bringing a new baby into your home is bound can take a bit of adjustment for your firstborn. Try our tips to make the transition smoother.
1. Don't announce your pregnancy too early
It's tempting to share the exciting news early on, and they do need time to wrap their heads around it, but for a toddler, nine months is an eternity. For some, it's half their whole life! Tell them too early and you risk being asked, "Are they coming today?" for two trimesters.
2. Share special times together
Spend time with your toddler going through videos and pictures of them as a baby, sharing stories of what they were like and the precious moments you've shared. It will create a strong bond and memories for them, and also prepare them for a new baby.
3. Let them help you prepare
If you've kept your toddlers' old newborn clothes, enlist their help in going through them in advance of the new arrival. It's a good opportunity to share memories and makes them feel useful.
Once you know what will be of use for the new baby, wash it all in Fairy Non-Bio so it's clean and fresh, ready for baby. It leaves clothes huggably soft without irritating delicate newborn skin, and is Mumsnet evaluated with an amazing 96% approval rating.
Remember though, that when it comes to using our 3in1PODS, they belong in a washing machine or locked in a high cupboard, not within reach of your little ones. Make sure you keep them up, keep them closed and keep them safe.
4. Make the big changes before birth
If big other changes to your child's routine are imminent, get them out of the way before their sibling arrives so your toddler has your full attention and help throughout the process. Weaning, toilet training and moving into a new bed or bedroom will be easier now without the additional stress of a newborn at home.
5. Give them their own baby'
To get them used to the fact that a lot of your time will be taken up looking after the new baby, it can be a good idea to buy your toddler a new stuffed toy or doll. They can look after and nurture it like you will the baby.
6. Make their meeting special
Arrange for your child to meet their new brother or sister as soon as possible, ideally before any other visitors. If possible, let them see you first and then go to the nursery together, so you can give them some special attention, rather than letting them walk in to see you nursing.
7. Give them a gift
The focus will be on gifts for the new baby, so encourage select friends and family to split their budget and buy an older brother/sister' present too so they don't feel left out. Alternatively, have the siblings give' each other a gift to mark the occasion and create the bond between the two.
8. Help them get used to sharing your attention
You will probably find yourself frequently telling your toddler to hold on while you see to the baby, but you don't want them to feel that the baby is hogging all your attention. To avoid this, speak to the baby.
For example, while helping your older child on the potty or to get dressed, say out loud to the newborn "I'm helping your sister now, I'll nurse feed you in a minute". Obviously the baby won't understand, but the toddler will find it easier to accept if they know they both take turns for your time.
9. Make them feel involved in looking after the baby
There probably isn't much a toddler can do to help, but try to help them feel involved in caring for their new sibling. They could pass you cotton wool when you change nappies, or help with bathtime. When feeding, do it on the sofa so your older child can still be with you.
10. Let them share ALL their feelings
Some children immediately take to being the eldest, but for others it can be a difficult time as they struggle with their feelings. Listen to them an don't worry if they don't immediately take to the new arrival - the bond will come in time.
How did you introduce your toddler to their new sibling? Let us know in the comments below.