Preparing Older Children

You were three peas in a pod and now another one is on the way, but things may not be the same as they were with your first newborn. Now, instead of just midnight feedings and multiple diaper changes, you have an older child ready to get up and go. Here are a few tips that can help you and your family through this transition.

Involve your firstborn from the very beginning. Make them feel special by announcing they’re about to become a big brother or big sister. Show them the ultrasound pictures or take them with you to the appointments. Plan a specific time for them to come and meet the new baby at the hospital.

Your first little one will have to share more than just their toys with their new sibling; they’ll also need to learn to share your time and attention. After you and baby come home from the hospital, try designating some time with your older child while the newborn is napping, or plan a quiet sit-down activity, like reading, when you’re feeding your newborn. This allows you to divide your attention without interrupting daily routines.

Even though your newborn might physically need more of your attention, that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice time with your first baby. Believe it or not, your firstborn could turn out to be your biggest helper. Give them some small chores that help you and allow them to interact with their new brother or sister. For instance, ask them to bring you supplies during diaper changes or to get the baby’s blanket or pacifier. This gives them a purpose instead of leaving them feeling left out. Little things like this can help you establish and maintain your relationship with each child. It also allows mommy and babies to spend time together without neglecting daily activities and routines.

We also offer a Sibling Class at various locations. The class features age-appropriate information and activities to help children prepare for the joys and challenges of being an older sibling. Learn more or register for an upcoming class.