TALKING WITH YOUR OLDER CHILD ABOUT A NEW SIBLING

by 高莫娜 Mona
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A new child in the family creates huge impact and it is essential to prepare your older child for the upcoming change. Naturally the parents put a lot of effort in preparations of welcoming the new baby. Once the baby arrives, much of the family’s attention is diverted towards caring for the newborn. 

I had one very shining girl in my nursery class. She was a happy girl who loved to partake in every class activity. One day she was late from school and when she came she was in tears and wanted to go back home. I was surprised at her attitude and upon inquiry came to know that she had a new baby bother! Her parents were worried about her behavior and wanted the teachers to make her understand the situation. 

Things are quite different when you are bringing a second child home. With the first child, you’re occupied with all first time stuff, from feeding, to bathing, to vaccines, to clothing, to building up sleep habits, so on and so forth. When you are expecting a second child, first thing on your mind is as how your older child will react to having a new sibling and how you’re going to handle two kids at a same time. But before thinking about the later stuff it is crucial to talk about the new baby with your older child and encourage a healthy sibling bond.

When talking about the new sibling, take into account your child’s maturity level. Preschoolers, for example, may not understand the exact gestation period, so do not say that the baby will arrive in a few months. It may be more relevant to say that the baby will arrive in a particular season, such as winter or summer.

When you have the new baby, let your close family member like husband or grandma to bring your older child to the hospital. Let them build up their sibling bond. Once the baby is home, include the older siblings as much as possible in the baby’s daily activities. Depending on their age, take their help during a diaper change, help push the stroller, or help dress, bathe, or burp the baby. If your child expresses no interest in the baby, don’t force her. Let her take her time.

A new sibling undoubtedly changes a family. As your older child adjusts, reassure him or her of your love. Tell him or her that the brothers and sisters are the best friends. They are as close as hands and feet and will always be there for each other, no matter what!

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