Bringing a new baby into the family is a big change for everyone, especially older siblings. And changes”even positive ones”can be scary.
Some children may fear that they will no longer get attention. Others may have a hard time understanding why life is so different all of a sudden.
From breakfast to bathtime, a newborn baby will demand almost all of your attention and energy. And although toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age kids have gained some independence, they have many emotional and physical needs, too.
Older children may feel neglected or left out when mom or dad has to attend to the baby.
Here are four fun ways for older siblings to get involved and excited about the new addition to the family.
1. Read books about babies
There are tons of books targeted at older siblings about the arrival of a baby sibling. These books teach kids everything from what's going on inside mommy's body during pregnancy to what life will look like after the baby is born.
And the information in these books will alleviate you from needing to have all the answers.
Popular books for younger children include What Baby Needs by William Sears and I'm A Big Sister/Brother by Joanna Cole. For older school aged children, check out Babies Don't Eat Pizza by Dianne Danzig.
2. Bring them to ultrasound appointments.
Depending on the age of your child, ultrasound appointments could be a fun and exciting way to introduce the new baby.
Check with your physician ahead of time to see if bringing your children are okay and how many can be in the room at the same time. Since you may have several ultrasounds during the pregnancy, you and your physician can discuss the most appropriate time to bring big brother or big sister.
3. Include them in choosing a name
Pregnant moms hear this one a lot: “So, do you have a name picked out yet?” If you don't already have a name for the new little one, this is a fun opportunity to include big sis or big bro in an important decision.
Make it a fun and silly discussion. The goal doesn't have to be coming up with a final name. It can be more about generating excitement and anticipation for the new baby.
Or if you've narrowed down your list to your top favorites, and you partner can't decide which you like best, ask big sister to weigh in on her favorite. You could also make a game of it and have her pick one out of a hat”but only if you really do like all the options equally.
4. Entertain the baby
When you were home with your firstborn you were his main source of entertainment and soothing” aside from toys and visitors. But now you have an energetic and eager older sibling.
This will help create a bond between the two, not to mention some really sweet photos and videos to cherish for a lifetime.
You may even get a moment to breathe, as long as you can keep an eye on them.
If you're pregnant or trying to get pregnant, schedule an appointment today with the EIRMC maternity team. And yes, we'd love to meet the soon-to-be big brother or sister.