The other day I flashed a glance at posts I have started but never finished. There were only about 11 of them, but each of them are posts I would still like to finish. Some day. Maybe.
Although it has been awhile since I was preparing for my second baby (who is now 18 months) this still seems to be a relevant question with friends and family members as they are preparing or planning for their next child. Adding another child to the mix will certainly mean a transition period for the entire family. Although your toddler may not completely understand what adding a sibling means, you can definitely prepare them for what is to come. The unknown is a lot scarier for us humans than the known. While you are planning for this transition yourself, be sure to take the time to prepare your babies as well.
Sibling rivalry and some struggle can still be expected with the addition of another child but could possibly be lessened if you have put in the prep work before baby. Here are some things to think about that may help you:
1. Read books about bringing home the new baby
There are so many books out there for children that focus on a new baby coming home. The picture below shows a few books I had in my own personal stash. We also went to the library and found additional books and read them frequently. These stories are a great starting point for children and can lead to some additional discussion about what it means to bring home your new baby.
The New Baby and The Berenstain Bears' New Baby were great books for my daughter to use as she prepared for the new baby.
2. Include them in anything you can
This is their baby, too, and they want to be involved and included as a family member. Even though they are young and it can be challenging, bring them to any and all appointments you can. My doctor was awesome and would let my daughter help measure my stomach and use the fetal heart doppler. We always celebrated that she found her baby's heart and she absolutely loved being that involved.
I also involved her in pulling out our totes of baby clothes and sorting them. Yes, this can be a challenge with an active, busy toddler but she absolutely loved showing me her favorite outfits and planning to dress her baby.
3. Let your child practice with a baby doll
Get your hands on a doll and let them start to practice holding a baby, changing a baby's diaper, feeding a baby, and putting a baby to sleep. Most likely, they won't be doing most of this when baby is here but this will help your child to understand what babies need.
4. Involve them in sharing the news
Again, this is their baby, too. They should play a huge role in helping to share the news. Whether it's announcing the pregnancy, announcing the gender, prepping the room for baby, and/or announcing the due date get them involved. Try to get them so excited about it that they really want to be involved. If they are really verbal, we would call the grandparents after every appointment and let our daughter give them the updates.
5. Have them take a sibling prep class
Our hospital offers classes specifically for preparing siblings for a new baby. Ask around and see if you can find something in your area. This will also give your child a chance to be around other children who are preparing for the same thing.
Bringing a new baby home can bring on so many emotions, both good and bad! Offer your child as much support as you can as your family prepares to start another chapter.
Congrats to you and your newest addition! I hope you found this helpful! If you are reading through this and are preparing for your first child or are looking for a quick, easy read, check out this book for some additional information:
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