You are expecting? Congratulations! Welcoming your second baby is a joyous time for everyone you love. Yet, your oldest child, the one who has been your only baby all this time, is going to have to adjust to this new sibling. With the right strategy, you can help this transition go as smoothly as possible for your first born.
Children are naturally curious creatures, so you can expect a lot of questions about the new baby. Each child will have a different level of interest in the coming sibling. The best approach, after you have told your child about the coming baby, is to let her ask questions at her own pace. Offer developmentally appropriate, honest answers to those questions, but try not to force them to show interest. You simply cannot fabricate interest that is not there.
Books are a powerful tool to introduce new concepts to children in a non-threatening, non-invasive way. They can be particularly helpful if your child is too young to voice concerns or does not seem interested in talking about the new baby. Find picture books that you can read with your child that talk about what to expect with a new baby. Often, this will help your first born to express questions about the new sibling that he might not realize he has. It also gives you the chance to talk about how to treat a newborn. Even if the books do not spark questions, they will give your child a visual representation of what a baby is and how having one in the family might change his everyday life.
If you know someone who has a new baby, especially someone who has kids your child knows, arrange a visit. Let your child see what life is like with a new sibling. Let your child interact with the baby. Hold the baby, and see how your son or daughter reacts. This will give you a good idea of what problems may arise when you bring home that new sibling.
Remember, a new baby brings changes for everyone in your life, including your child. Because your oldest child has been the center of your life for as long as he can remember, adjusting to the new baby may be challenging. Do your best to prepare him by talking about the coming changes, reading books about babies, and even visiting a new baby if you can, and greet whatever reaction your child has with love and support. Soon, you will both feel as though you can’t remember life without your second born.