If welcoming your first child to the family was an experience, introducing the second one is even more of an experience. Yes, it is enjoyable. Yes, you are excited about the second one as you had always believed in expanding your family. But, more than anything else, the biggest challenge will be to tell your firstborn about the next child in line.
The First Response Tells it All
Notice how your firstborn reacts with other babies. Do they show a lot of warmth or not? This reaction will vary as per the child’s age group. The higher the age group, the better will be the reception. Just as we need to prepare the child for welcoming the newborn, we have to also prepare them mentally before the baby even arrives.
Use the Right Words: Ensure to be excited about the new ‘brother’ or ‘sister’. Use the words of the baby brother around them even before the baby is born. Tell them how they will need to be the responsible elder brother or sister.
Take Turns to Be with The Older Child: Make sure to also take the help of your partner in spending a lot of time with the older child as you tend to the newborn.
Just Be Open about the Changes: Kids are smart enough to notice the mamma’s sudden change in appearance. They will want to know from you first. Show them pictures of baby animals and their childhood to help them relate better.
So talk to them about the baby on the way by using words like ‘baby’ and all. This kind of preparation is what they would want to know from you instead of anyone else. Now that you have prepared them ahead of the actual arrival, let’s talk about what to do when you come home back with the child.
How to Introduce the Baby to the Older Sibling
- Have a Formal Introduction: As you bring the baby home, keep him in the car and let the older child come and say hello. They should see you and the baby after you come home all dressed and neat with the baby than in the hospital. Record this moment and see how well it goes. Hold on to your older child as if you want to show that nothing has changed between you and them. Momma still loves the big boy or girl in the house only.
- Exchanging Gifts: Tell your elder child to buy or make anything special for the new one. They could also write a letter or a poem for their baby brother or sister. Do not forget to buy a secret gift on behalf of the baby for the elder one. This gift has to be a pleasing one just to make the elder child feel that the newborn is one of their league!
- Give Time to Warm Up: Do remember that just on meeting the new baby (even after a great gift) the older one has not become a wizened old person. The older one is still your firstborn child and still your priority. Parents often tend to ignore the older child completely making them feel like a stranger in their own house. So, let the older child warm up to the fact that there is now another baby in the house. Do not put any pressure on elder siblings just immediately.
- Being Together All the Time: Include your child in all of the activities at all times with the baby. They should see how you take care of the child and why. They may have questions, and also note that the baby is helpless. This is why you have to be with the little one. But when you have to play, the older child should be the first one to start. The older child should always be treated as the torch-bearer and nothing less. You might not start playing when the older one is not there. This way they note that you want them as much as before in your life.
- Be Watchful: A moment of jealousy might cause your toddler to even hold the baby carelessly or even pinch them in angst. So, be watchful of the children when they are together or when you ask the older one to be with the little one. Remember they are not in the state to accept their baby sibling yet. Do not make them hate the newborn even more. Try to find out why they did that to the little one. Calm them down as well.
- Schedule Play Dates for Your Older Children: The older child is also a little one and they might also want to grow up playing. You may not be able to play with them as you used to do earlier. Now, you can plan playdates for them with their closest friends and cousins. This way, they will not feel left out. You will need a village to raise a child they say and it is true. Take help from your family, your parents, and your friends. For all you know, they might be eager to come forward and help you raise the children happily.
The Final Word
Always remember that you are raising children and so, allow them some time, space, and of course, understanding. The older child might struggle to accept the newborn at first, but with time and your approach, they might melt and warm up. Even when celebrating any event or ceremony for the newborn, please have some gifts ready to give to the older child as the guests come. This way, they will feel glad about the responsibility they have just received.
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