Transitioning from being parents of 1 to a parents of 2 is an interesting, joyful and sometimes very difficult process. This can also be a difficult and confusing time for your older kid who has always had your full attention and hasn't had to share you before. So we thought we'd share some tips on how to introduce your older kiddo to the new baby.
1. Talk about it. Explain to your child what is going to happen. Tell them about their new sibling that will be arriving. Let them know that it won't be an immediate playmate.
2. Involve them in the process. Let them help you pick out baby clothes, decorate the nursery, come with to the scan (if your doctor allows it) etc. It will help make the new baby real before the actual arrival.
3. Prepare them for being the big brother or sister. Complete potty training, set them up in their big kid bed, start giving them tiny responsibilities etc. By doing this before the baby arrives, they won't feel the shock as much and will already be used to some changes.
4. Line up who will be caring for your older kiddo while you're in the hospital. Make sure it is someone your kiddo feels safe and comfortable with like a grandparent or aunt or godparent. Make sure that they spend enough time with that person leading up to the birth of the new baby so they aren't surprised to be spending a longer period of time with them.
5. Get a family member or friend to bring the kiddo to the hospital for a quick visit. During this time let the family member hold the baby so you can cuddle and give your devoted attention to your kiddo.
6. Let your kiddo say hello to the baby whilst you or your spouse is holding it. If your kiddo is still quite little, they won't be able to hold the baby yet.
7. Give your kiddo something special from the baby. This will make them feel special and noticed whilst everyone is giving the baby a lot of attention. It will also help them not feel too many negative feelings towards the baby.
8. Take your kiddo out to their favourite place just one-on-one without the baby. This will let them know that they aren't forgotten in this confusing process. Keep letting your kiddo know that they are loved and special to you even though things have changed.
This article was adapted from an incredible Mayo Clinic article. Read more about helping your kiddo adjust, older kiddos acting out, breastfeeding around your kiddo and more in the original article here.
Top image found here.