One of the biggest keys to preparing your child for a new sibling is to make him or her feel involved in the pregnancy. The fact that you’re having a baby is probably a very abstract concept to your child, especially to a younger child or if this is his or her first sibling. Doing things together like buying clothes for the baby and letting your child feel the baby kick will make the fact that a new baby is coming feel more real to him or her.
Let her help make the announcement
An older child especially will enjoy being let in on the secret to surprise everyone with the news. You can tell her about your plans, or even let her be the one to make the announcement. You can gather everyone together for a group picture, and then have your child make the announcement that she’s going to be a big sister. Or for a younger child, you can get her a shirt announcing her new status.
Buy baby items together
After you first tell your child about the baby, go out together and buy the baby something. Let your child pick out an outfit or toy for his new baby brother or sister. Later on, when buying the bigger baby items, have your child help you pick out those items too. This will hopefully get him excited about the baby.
Don’t make her feel resentful
Take care to not let your child feel resentful towards her new sibling. When you’re feeling sick or tired, don’t blame the new baby. Simply say you don’t feel good or that you’re tired without mentioning the new baby. This will hopefully help to dispel any potential feelings of jealousy or resentment.
Get him a doll
Especially if he’s never been around babies, you should get your child a doll to model how to hold the baby as well as what the baby will be like. You can model gentleness and explain to your child that, at first, the new baby will sleep a lot and not do much, just like the doll.
Take her to ultrasound appointments
Taking your child to ultrasound appointments, especially the later ones when the baby starts looking like a baby, will help your child’s new sibling feel a little more tangible to her. Your child will enjoy seeing the baby and seeing it move. And if you are finding out your baby’s gender, your first child will enjoy finding out with you.
Let him help think of names
This works best with an older child, but can still be fun for a younger child. Be prepared to hear lots of funny ideas, like Elmo, Car Seat, and Ice Cream Head. If nothing else, you’ll get some good laughs out of it!
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