No matter how excited you are about the arrival of baby No 2, it’s natural to be worried about how your first born will cope once he/she is no longer your one-and-only. Now is the time to embrace having only one child and here are some questions we are often asked.
Rockabye Early Learning Centre takes the care and education of young children seriously. Today centre supervisor, LOUISE SLADEN, talks about preparing first borns for a sibling.
When is the right time to tell your first born about a new baby?
There’s not one right time or perfect way to tel a child about an impending sibling. In a nutshell, don’t tell them too early. From a child’s perspective, 6-9 months is a long time to wait. When discussing the new arrival, consider your own comfort level and your child’s maturity level. Preschoolers for example, may not grasp concepts of time, so maybe it would be more useful to explain that the baby will arrive close to a special occasion i.e. Christmas or birthday.
How do I prepare my child for a sibling?
It’s hard for toddlers to understand what a new baby is all about. A helpful way to prepare them is by looking through your photo albums and talking about when he/she was tiny. Don’t tell your child that the new baby will be ‘a friend for you’ because for the first year or so, this is unlikely. From your child’s point of view the newcomer is more likely to be a hindrance before he/she becomes a best friend.
What are some ways my child can feel part of this new journey?
- Go through your child’s baby pictures with them
- Visit friends who have young children/babies
- Pack a bag for the hospital with Mummy and Daddy
- Encourage involvement in shopping for the new baby e.g. buying a special toy for the baby
- Involve your child in thinking about potential baby names
- Allow your child to accompany Mummy to the doctor for her scan and to hear the baby’s heartbeat.
What about support crew?
It is important to ensure your child is confident and happy with the people who will look after him/her at the time the baby is born. Try to ensure quality time with grandparents, aunts and uncles or friends who are there to help.
Finally, remember no matter how much you prepare your child for a brother or sister, her or she will still act out at times. These problems are part of becoming an older sibling. Good luck with the new chapter!!