10 Ways to Prepare your firstborn for a Sibling

sibling love- Parenting resources by ZenParent

So your first born has been the apple of your eye since the day he/she was born. Now you are expecting your next child and are concerned about how he/she is going to feel. I once read a book which had a strange analogy to this situation “Imagine if your husband brought home another lady and said, from tomorrow you both will be my wives and I will love you and treat you just the same. You will share all your things and be nice to each other “- Quite a ghastly comparison. But, it has a vague ring of truth to it as to how difficult it can be for an only child to suddenly have a sibling. Here are a few ways to prepare your child to face his new situation in life.

1. Give him importance: Portray him as the responsible big brother/sister who has to help you as you would need a lot of help. Some parents get those cute t-shirts that say “I am going to be an elder sister/brother”. This mentally prepares the child for the role ahead.

2. Dads to kick it up a notch: Since the mom is going to be extra busy with the newborn, it is important that dads increase the bonding they have with the first kid. This will prevent them from feeling very left out when mom gets super busy.

3. Get external help: It can be your parents, in laws, friendly neighbours or hired help- But get some help who can take care of the baby for some time so that you can spend one on one time with your first born everyday for a little bit. This way he/she won’t feel that he never sees the mom since the arrival of the new baby.

welcoming a newborn sibling- Parenting resources by ZenParent

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4. Stock up on small gifts: During your pregnancy package some small gifts for him. Every time a relative comes home bearing gifts for your newborn, if they have not bought anything for your older child, release a gift. That would keep him/her from feeling insecure that nobody cares for him anymore.

5. Avoid big changes right after delivery: Your child maybe of potty trainable age just as the new one arrives. However, avoid potty training at this time. Give it a couple of months for him to get used to the new born. Introducing a change in school, or a change in residence or any such big change might be too much to handle.

6. Give notice: If you are going to be using the same clothes that you used with your first born, talk to him about it and get his permission before the baby arrives. Pep him up that he is awesome for sharing. This will make him have positive feelings towards the baby instead of looking at it as a creature who has come to steal his stuff.

letting the first child know about the second sibling coming in the world- Parenting resources by ZenParent

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7. Moving him out of your bed: If your first born has been sleeping in your bed and you need him to move out, start the process as soon as you got that positive on your home pregnancy test!! Do not start the process after the baby is born. Even before you start telling the world you are pregnant, get your kid into his own bed without talking about the new baby at all.

8. Look at baby pictures of your first born with him: Go over your old pictures of your first born as a baby and how you fussed over him. That would reassure him that he is very loved too and was given a lot of attention too. Prime him to expect the same with the baby.

9. Make him own it : Keep referring to the baby as your brother/sister to give them a sense of ownership for the new arrival.

newborn sibling welcome- Parenting resources by ZenParent

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10. Take time to baby your older one: Once the new baby arrives, the 3 year old who used to look like a baby suddenly looks like a very big child and we stop babying them. Consciously try to baby your older child too – outsource it to a grandparent or the parent who is not taking care of the baby at the moment. They need all the extra TLC during the adjustment period.

Many of us have siblings and it is all a part of growing up, however if you can be extra sensitive as a parent and prepare your first born well enough, you can reduce the incidents of jealousy, rage and tantrums during the transition period.

How to help your children not feel that you’re favoring one child over another? Click here to find out the answer.

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