Having a second (or third) child is said to be somewhat easier. You know more of what to expect, you have the “been there, done that” proverbial t-shirt. One daunting task in a second pregnancy is how to make sure your first child is emotionally prepared and adapts well when you bring their younger sibling home for the first time.
This is something you can start preparing for when you find out you are pregnant. Open communication in the house about what to expect when the new baby comes, how your little one is going to be a big brother/sister, will help create excitement. It is this feeling of joy and excitement you want your child to feel when thinking about their new sibling.
We have put a few ideas together on how to make the transition easier for your only child:
Dress to impress – Make the pregnancy announcement special for your child. Try to find them a big brother/sister shirt to wear around. This helps create a sense of big sibling pride.
Babymoon – This term has been coined for a great reason. If you are able, try planning a little family getaway before the baby comes. After you have your newborn, a trip may seem like a faraway idea. It can help you to bond and have one-on-one quality time with your little one before there is another in the mix.
Big sister/brother basket – After you have given birth but are still at the hospital, make the first meeting special for your older child. More often than not, attention is highly focused on the newborn baby at the hospital. Creating a small gift basket for your little one will help them feel special too. Ideas to fill it with: Books, new big sibling shirt, crayons, and things to keep them busy while at the hospital.
Big brother/sister duties – Depending on your older child’s age, let them help out at home. It won’t feel like punishment, but rather give them a sense of pride in themselves. Anything from helping fetch nappies for the baby, putting a sock on their little sibling, or tapping their back after a feed. Most importantly, make sure they feel involved rather than set aside.
Alone time – Make sure that you manage to spend some alone time with your toddler once the baby comes. This can be 10 minutes of talking, reading, or gentle playtime. As long as your child can see that you are still there for them, they will adjust quickly.
Nursery Craft – Have your toddler create something new for the nursery. A great idea is a picture or painting they made that can be stuck on the nursery wall.
Toptots Early Learning SA