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When we found out we were pregnant with our second child, our son was only 10-months-old and we had no idea how he would react to having a baby at home. He would be 18-months-old when our new baby was born, and we were worried he wouldn’t handle having a sibling well. So we did a lot of things to prepare him for the birth of his little sister, and when the time came, he was an amazing big brother (and still is).
I’ve gone through this twice now, once with Little J and once with Little A, and both times have gone great. Little J was 18-months-old when his sister was born, and Little A was 2 1/2 years when our newest little man was born, so it was different each time, and yes, different things work for each child. Now I’ve had several people ask me how to prepare older siblings for the birth of a new baby, so today I’m sharing nine ways to help you get your little ones ready for their new sibling!
1. Talk about the baby. A lot. Talk all about how things will be different when the new baby comes, about how your child can help the new baby by bringing them their pacifier, a blanket, or a toy. Remind them that the baby will be born at the hospital and when they come home they will live at your house. Talk about how you are going to love the baby and how you will still love them just as much. Get them familiar with having a baby and what it’s like to have a baby (as much as their age allows) so that when the time comes, it won’t be a big surprise.
2. Show them your belly. I remember distinctly the first time I showed Little A my growing belly with all its stretch marks. She was fascinated by it. We talked a lot about how baby brother was in my tummy, but seeing my bare belly all round seemed to be even more interesting to her. This one is probably a better idea for older kids because when I was pregnant with Little A, Little J didn’t really care about my belly.
3. Let them feel the baby move. Once you are far enough along that you can feel your baby move from the outside, let your child feel baby kick and move around, too! It might take some patience on their part, but both of my kids loved feeling their baby sibling move around. It is a fun way to make it more real when they realize that something really is inside Mommy’s belly!
4. Let them pick out new clothes or toys for the baby. Something both my kids enjoyed was picking out special clothes and toys for our new baby. Little J picked out a pink bear for Little A and brought it to her at the hospital, and when we were picking out the going home outfit for our newest baby, I let the kids help me decide which one to buy. It’s an easy way to help get them excited for the birth of the baby.
5. Read books about getting a new sibling. Reading books about other kids becoming siblings can help your kids that babies are born all the time and being a sibling can be fun! Check out books from the library or buy some on Amazon. My kids loved “I Am a Big Brother,” “I Am a Big Sister,” and “The New Baby.”
6. Show them pictures of when they were a baby. Another thing that helped my kids prepare for the birth of Little J was showing them pictures of when they were babies. We talked about how everyone starts out as a baby, and reminded them that they were babies once, too. You can also show them pictures of yourself as a baby if you want to blow their minds!
7. Get them a baby doll or stuffed animal to take care of. We never got around to doing this but I love the idea of getting your child a baby doll or special stuffed animal that they can pretend to take care of by changing diapers, feeding them, or dressing them. It’s a great way to help them understand some of the different things Moms and Dads have to do for new babies.
8. Point out babies when you go places. Since our daughter hadn’t been around many babies until Little R was born, one thing I did a lot was point out babies when we went to the grocery store or church. I would say, “Look at that baby! We’re getting a baby like that soon!” to help her kind of put two and two together and remind her what was coming soon.
9. If you have any friends with a baby, ask if your child can come meet them. You can talk about babies and point out babies all you want, but actually being around a baby is different. If you can introduce your child to a friend’s baby it can really help. Show them how to be gentle and soft. Point out that you don’t poke baby’s eyes or put your hand in their mouth. If the baby cries that might be helpful too, since that happens a lot with new babies. I have a few friends who are pregnant and I love watching their younger kids around Little R. They are always very interested, and I hope that being around him will help them when their new babies come!
I promise that even though it’s a little scary and overwhelming, having two kids is amazing and watching them become each other’s best friends just melts your heart. Adding a third into the mix has been fun so far, too! Little J and Little R just love their new baby brother, and they are constantly up in his face and asking to hold him. It’s so sweet to watch him smile when he sees them!
Luckily, you have nine months to prepare older siblings for the birth of a new baby, and now that you know how to prepare older siblings for the birth of a baby, you’ll be ready! Good luck!