By Jay Stueve
Tips on how to help your first born adjust to a new baby. Bringing a new baby home is an exciting time. Make it fun for your older children too.
Include Your Child From the Beginning
Include your child in the new baby’s arrival from the very beginning. Let them know that they are going to be the big sister or brother. Take the time to express to your child the benefits that this will have for him and the role he will play in the family dynamics. Be sure and express to your child that you will always love him just as much as before and now he will be loved even more from his new baby brother or sister. Let him know that he will be receiving more love not less. Allow him to help with making decisions regarding the baby. A two year old can even appreciate helping in the decisions and feeling included. For example take him shopping with you to buy a cool baby shower gift, let him choose between two choices which he thinks the new baby will like the best.
Let him assist in helping decorate the nursery
Even if that help is confined to putting small objects on a low shelf let him help. Allow your child to choose a unique toy to give to his new brother or sister. Another option may be giving your older child a new toy and explain that the new gift is from the baby. As your pregnancy progresses allow him to feel the baby move, answer his questions and read him books so he understands that the reason mother’s body is changing is because of the baby.
Make Him Feel Special and Important
Any young child is bound to feel a bit jealous when they see all the new things that the baby is getting like cool baby clothes from showers. Having a completely separate big brother or sister celebrations where you suggest that your friends bring a small gift for your older child can combat this feeling. Offering a gift or two just because he plays a new role in the family can go a long way in making your first born fit into his new role.
Take him on a Tour of the Hospital Nursery
If at all possible arrange with the hospital staff to take your child on a tour of the delivery room and nursery. Expressing that this will be where your new brother or sister will stay until arriving home. Let your first born feel important by telling him or her that you need their help keeping dad company until you return, so that they are feeling helpful. If you want your child to really accept the new baby coming home then give your child a little reassurance that everything is going to be wonderful. Always being sure to include your first born will make the adjustment to the new baby that much easier on both of you.