6 Steps to Prepare your Child for a Sibling
Pregnant with Baby Number 2? Here are steps on how to prepare your child or toddler for a sibling:
Step 1: Time for the Big Kid Bed
This is a great activity to signal change, a new direction and identity for your child. If your first child is old enough ( 2 – 5 years old) start making big kid bed plans. Build up getting the big bed as an exclusive big kid activity. Let them pick for example their sheets and accent pillows.
Step 2: Shop With Them in Their Closet for Hand Me Downs
This activity offers them a visual perspective of how small they once were and how much they’ve grown. It also gives them a glimpse of what to expect of their siblings size. Have them play designer and choose what clothes they would like to see the baby wear. While picking out the baby toys, relay the fact that they are now a big kid and need big kid toys.
Step 3: Involve Them in Decorating The Nursery
Sharing the fun of designing a nursery with your eldest child gets them artistically involved and emotionally invested. Ask their opinion of what they could make to help you create a special space for the baby. Get creative and make this a fun project, because they will remember being part of the process, be sure to proudly point out the work of art to Daddy and everyone who sees it in the nursery.
Step 4: Sign Them Up For a Class or Activity
If you’ve been thinking of signing them up for swimming or ballet lessons, now’s the time to do it. You’ll be busier and pegged down to the home quarters when the baby arrives, and it would be great to have a regular activity already planned for your big kid. You could try and make it an activity that involves Daddy, giving you some much needed “me time.” This may also work very well for your kid when they just want to get away from the new crying baby.
Step 5: Read to Them and Show Them Examples
There are many of books about becoming a big brother or sister, find one that’s right for you and read it regularly to your child. Books will help prepare your kid for the job of being an older sibling and give them an idea of what to expect from the new baby. Answer their questions openly and as accurately as possible/ appropriate. Point out examples of siblings as you spend time at the park, grocery store, picking them up from daycare or preschool. And remember to tell them that they are the bigger sibling, it usually brings a smile to their face.
Step 6: Be accommodating if and when they Regress
As much as they are trying to grow and assume this new life role, they will sometimes want to revert to being and acting like your one and only little baby. My son would climb into the crib or forgo his sippy cup for the bottle. I would sometimes let him sleep in the crib, all the while reminding him that once his little sister arrived he would have to sleep in his big boy bed and will do just fine. The bottle, on the other hand, seemed non-negotiable, so we let him have it for a little longer – we pick our battles!
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