Sibling Tips – Young Children May Need Special Transition Help From You
It’s exciting to bring a new addition home to the family! But if you already have a young child at home, there’s going to be a period of transition. Here are some sibling tips to help make that adaptation period easier, both before and after you bring the baby home.
Choose the timing of announcing your pregnancy to your older child carefully. Toddlers have little understanding of linear time. Months can seem like years. Give them a milestone to attach your due date to, such as, “The baby will be here the week after your birthday.”
Give your older child age-appropriate information about the pregnancy. You can expect them to ask questions, but an overdose of facts will confuse them.
Here’s one of our favorite sibling tips: involve the older sibling in preparing for the baby. Let them pick items for the nursery. Encourage them to draw pictures for their new sibling, and place it in an focal point in the room. Having them play a part of the process will help them feel grounded.
Mentally prepare your child for the arrival of a baby. Show them pictures of themselves when they were babies. Let them know that everyone was a baby at some point, and how fortunate the baby is to have them as an older brother (or sister). Read them books about being a big brother or sister. You can find a great list of helpful books here.
Set expectations for your older child about the baby’s arrival. Help them understand that there will be lots of crying and sleeping before the baby will be ready to play with them.
Affirm to your older child the important role they will play in the baby’s life. Your older child may be nervous about their role in the family after the baby arrives.
The more you can do to assure your older child that they are still loved, the smoother the transition will be. That’s at the heart of all our sibling tips today.
While you are looking over these tips aimed at supporting your family when older siblings are involved, take a look at our support page to make sure your back has the right support, too!