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Monday, October 17, 2011


If you have other children, you'll need to plan carefully how and when to tell them about the new baby. A child who is four or older should be told as soon as you start telling friends and relatives. He should also be apprised of the basic facts about conception and pregnancy so he understands how he is related to his new brother or sister. Fables about storks and such may seem cute, but they won't help your youngster understand and accept the situation. Using one of the picture books published on the subject may help you to explain "where babies come from."

If your younger than four when you become pregnant, you can wait awhile before telling him. When he's this young, he's still very self-centered and may have difficulty understanding an abstract concept like an unborn baby. But once you start furnishing the nursery, bringing his old crib back into the house, and making or buying baby clothes, he should be told what's going on. Also take advantage of any questions he may ask about Mom's growing "stomach" to explain what's happening. 

Picture books can be helpful with very young children, too. Even if he doesn't ask questions, start talking to your older child about the baby by the last few months of pregnancy. Point out other newborns and their older siblings, and tell him how he's going to be a big brother soon.

Don't promise that things will be the same after the baby comes, because they won't be, no matter how hard you try. But reassure your child that you will love him just as much and help him understand the positive side of having a bad sibling.

Breaking the news is most difficult if your child is between two and three. At this age, he's still extremely attached to you and doesn't yet understand the concept of sharing time possessions, or your affection with anyone else. He's also very sensitive to change going on around him, and may feel threatened by the idea of a new family member. The best way to minimize his jealousy is to include him as much as possible in the preparations for the new baby. Let him shop with you for the layette and the nursery equipment. Show him picture of himself as a newborn, and if you're recycling some of his old equipment, let him play with it a bit before you get it in order for the newcomer.

Any major changes in your preschooler's routine, such as toilet training, switching from a crib to bed, changing bedrooms, or starting nursery school, should be completed before the baby arrives. If that's not possible, put them off until after the baby is settled in at home. Otherwise, your youngster may feel overwhelmed when the upheaval caused by the baby's arrival is added to the stress of his own adjustments.

Once the baby is home, encourage your toddler to help and play with the newborn, but don't force him. If he shows an interest, give him some tasks that will make him feel like a big brother, such as disposing of dirty diapers and picking out baby's clothes or bath toys. And when you're playing with the baby, invite him to join you and show him how to hold and move the baby. Make sure he understand, however, that he's not to do these things unless you or another adult is present.

However busy ore preoccupied you may be with your new arrival, make sure you serve some special time each day just for your older child. Read, play games, listen to music, or simply talk together. Show him that you're interested in what he's doing, thinking, and feeling - not only in relation to the baby but about everything else in his life.  


Gladys | WanderingTandem.com on December 2, 2011 at 12:39 AM said...

great post on how to prepare the other children :) thanks!

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