The arrival of a wee baby brother or sister is bound to be a bit of a shock to your other children. And while the news may be hard for little minds to grasp, with a bit of preparation you can make it good news for everyone. The best tactic is to involve your child right from the word go. Let them touch your tummy and tell them about the baby growing inside – but don’t push the subject if they’re not interested. Show them where this new arrival will be sleeping and ask them for help with choosing newborn essentials, like clothes and toys.
Before your new baby arrives
While you or your partner are going through pregnancy there will be plenty of things you’ll want to get sorted for the new arrival. We’ve got some tips below to help you introduce your kids to the new brother or sister who’ll be joining the family.
Tip #1: Tell it like it is
Tip #2: Keep things stable
Your children might be a wee bit anxious about how things might change when the new baby arrives. So let them spend time with the person who’ll be looking after them while you’re in labour. And reassure them - tell them that some things won’t change – like going to nursery or popping round to see gran on a Wednesday.
Tip #3: Plan well ahead
Make any changes, such as moving them from a cot to a bed, well in advance so they don’t feel put out. And it’s also best to avoid major changes, such as potty training or starting nursery, too close to the delivery date. Try to give them some sense of when the baby is due by talking about it arriving in the summer or after a holiday or their birthday. Kids under three have little idea of time.
Tip #4: Ask for their help
After your new baby arrives
At first, your children might be more than a bit suspicious of the new arrival. Make sure you tell them again and again just how important they are to you, and how important they’re going to be to their new brother or sister.
Tip #1: First meeting
Tip #2: Be tolerant
Tip #3: Praise your child
Sometimes other children get a bit babyish after a new sibling is born. They may want to suck from a bottle or the breast, start wetting themselves again, waking at night or having more tantrums. Ignore this behaviour and praise them at every opportunity for being a fab ‘big’ brother or sister.
Tip #4: Give them private space
You might want to give each child a private place to keep their things. And be careful when it comes to reorganising your home in preparation for the new arrival. You might have to move your child into a new room – but don’t frame it as ‘You have to move out for the new baby’. Instead, say something like ‘you’re getting much bigger now. I think you’d like sleeping in the bigger room.’
As the new baby gets older
If your home is like a war zone, try not to feel too down about it. It’s normal for brothers and sisters to fight and it’s one of the ways they learn to share, take turns and get on with other people. Follow our tips below for defusing quarrels.