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Preparing Child for Sibling

Just as the dynamics of the home changes when the first child is born, the home and family undergo more change with each additional child. The adults will have to acclimate themselves to the new family member. Existing children will also have to learn and be prepared to have another child in the home.

The first born’s routine will change, as well as that child’s place in the family. No longer will the caregiver be able to drop everything in a moment to see to the wants and desires of the first child. The caregiver will have to learn to juggle the emotional and physical needs of the first born, along with the needs of the newborn.

How to Prepare the First Born for a Sibling

Toddlers will have a hard time understanding what is happening if changes are made in their life as soon as the newborn arrives. If a toddler needs to change rooms, or be placed in a toddler bed, this should be done months in advance of the new baby’s birth. If the child is to be enrolled in a childcare facility or Mother’s Day Out program, this should be implemented well before the new baby arrives, as well. This will give the child a chance to adjust to a new routine or room while caregivers have the time and attention to help him or her.

Older children may feel resentful or jealous of a new baby. Children over four years of age may feel that they are being replaced with the new baby. Children should be talked to about what is taking place in the home as preparations are being made for the new baby. There are books available which can be read to children about pregnancy and new siblings.

Older toddlers and children should be asked to help and participate in the preparations for the new baby. These children can help to pick out clothing, blankets, and other things which will be needed upon the baby’s arrival.

Many hospitals offer classes for siblings. These classes can do much to excite and prepare a child for a new baby in the home.

When the New Baby Arrives

Children may resort back to behaviors they have outgrown when the new baby arrives. Children may revert back to thumb sucking, soiling and baby talk. This is normal and will pass. The child should not be reprimanded. This is just a signal that he or she is feeling insecure and that extra attention is in order. Children should be encouraged to talk and express their feelings about the new baby.

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