Introducing New Siblings: Some Advice
Ease the transition of introducing your children with these helpful tips
4 May 2015
Siblings enjoy a special relationship unlike any other, so it's essential to promote that from the beginning. If you're expecting your second child, consider a creative way to introduce your child to the family's newest addition.
So here are some tried and tested methods of ensuring the first meet and greet is a smooth, tear-free and special one!
Whether your older child is thrilled to be a sibling, or having a hard time to adjust to the idea, get them excited about the impending arrival by hanging a 'countdown to baby' calendar in your home. You could even add in little gifts or trinkets each day, but of course - leave the best present of them all at the end! The baby!
Use story time as an opportunity to get your tot used to the idea that a new bay is on the way!
Choosing the Name
Get the big sibling in on the name game! Let them be involved in choosing a name for the new baby. If it turns out that big bro or sis are a little too creative with their name suggestion, then have them pick a nickname for their baby sibling.
From Baby, with Love
Offering the older sibling a gift from the baby is a great way to make the big introduction. Presents to consider include a baby doll, matching t-shirts or even something to keep them busy and entertained during those tricky first few weeks... and beyond!
Show and Tell
Why not try and replay your older child's own infancy by paging through their baby album. During this time, you can plant scenes to help your toddler understand and have a sense of what to expect, for example: "Mummy will carry baby a lot, just like I did with you."
While you're giving birth, your toddler may be more interested in what's going to happen to them more so than you. So here's where 'something special' comes in to play... Tell your tot, for example, while Mummy is in hospital, "Auntie so and so will be coming to our house and you can bake cookies together!"
Talk for your Baby
Your toddler will be naturally fascinated by their new younger brother or sister, so take advantage of this and explain what you imagine the baby is thinking. Such as, 'when baby holds your finger, it means they're telling you they love you so much!" Talking for the baby not only helps your toddler have a giggle and affection towards their sibling, but helps to let them see their sibling as a real person.
No matter how much you feel you have prepared, and feel as though everything as gone smoothly during the initial few weeks between your children, there is bound to be sometimes where your older child acts out. Of course, these are a normal part of becoming an older sibling so here's a few quick tips on how to handle them:
Toddlers take it to heart if they don't get equal time to their new baby sister or brother. If your tot begins to become impatient, set a time for when they can have your attention. For example, 'please just wait until I've finished feeding your brother/sister, then we can play in the garden'.
It's natural that your older child will have some negative feelings towards the baby - so encourage them to open up and express their negative feelings, as well as their positive.
Just Being Time
Take time to allow your tot to 'just be' with you - not necessarily on a day out, or an activity or even a conversation... Allow a few minutes a day to let them sit on your lap, for cuddles and chat while their younger sibling sleeps. Even just 10 or 15 minutes a day of this will make all the difference!
Let Them Feel Important
Assigning a task can be all it takes to help a tot feel included. For instance, 'bring me a nappy' or 'let's dress baby together'. Feeling needed helps many children relish the older sibling role.
With a little guidance from you as parents, you will watch your children grow up to be such close siblings and compadres. Family is for life, after all and those special bonds between brothers and sisters will last a lifetime.