Preparing Your Child for a Sibling
Are you expecting another child? With all the preparation of the nursery, the baby showers, the birthing classes and the shopping, you are no doubt overwhelmed as you prepare for your new infant. Well, your older child may be feeling a little overwhelmed as well, and might be having some mixed feelings over his new baby brother or sister. KidsHealth provides several suggestions on how to assuage your child's anxiety and on how to help make the transition smooth.
Make sure your child knows that you will still love him even when Baby arrives. Include him in the planning activities, such as preparing your hospital bag or thinking of baby names. Introduce him to the world of babies by reading him children's books geared toward becoming an older sibling and by spending time with families with babies. Once Baby arrives, include your older child in the daily activities of caring for the infant. If he is old enough, he can help burp the baby or simply talk to the baby.
If you need to make changes to the home that affect him (such as moving the crib in his room or switching his room), do so as early as possible so he has time to adjust. You may also want to postpone major milestones such as potty training until things settle down in the home.
As exhausted as you will be, it will be critical to find some one-on-one time with your older child to help prevent feelings of resentment. Even if it's just a few moments to read him a story while the baby is napping, try to find time for him. When talking with your child, ask him about his interests and what is going on at school. Encourage friends and relatives who visit your home not to focus all conversations on the baby.
If you notice your child misbehaving more frequently, try to encourage him to talk about the feelings behind his actions. If he is too young to verbalize them, encourage him to draw or play act what he is feeling. By including your child in activities, listening to his concerns and providing him one-on-one attention, you should help make the transition to a larger family a smoother one.
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