Telling your children their going to be a brother or sister is both exciting and nerve wracking. How will they take the news? Will they accept the news and look forward to it or will they worry about the threat of a new sibling stealing their parents attention? What will happen when the baby is here?
When we told Olly he was going to be a big brother in July last year, I was really looking forward to seeing how he would take the news. He doesn’t like change but we were hopeful this would be one change that he’d really enjoy. Thankfully, he took the news well and has been a fantastic older sibling to his little brother Freddie. Here’s a few things we did to help with the transition.
1. Involve them
Adding a new baby into the family dynamics can cause some siblings to feel pushed out but involving them throughout your pregnancy is a great way of getting them used to the idea of a new baby joining the family. When we told Olly he was going to be a big brother we bought him a t-shirt that said ‘Brother Bear’ on the front. It gave him a sense of responsibility and additionally, he loved his new t-shirt.
2. Don’t over-prepare them
Telling an older sibling they are going to have a new brother or sister may be a shock but whilst it’s worthwhile talking to them about the new arrival and preparing them for life with a new baby, don’t expect them to be as thrilled as you are about the new arrival. Until the new baby arrives, they’ll not really understand how life will change in the home or how their position in the family hierarchy will be affected. Be patient with them and they’ll come around to the idea.
3. Buy a gift
When we introduced Olly to baby Freddie earlier this year, my husband took Olly to buy a gift for his new baby brother a few weeks before his due date. Olly picked out a soft toy dog as a gift and Olly bought it to the hospital for their first meeting. We also bought Olly a gift from his new sibling that we took to the hospital as an ice-breaker. As much as we wanted to believe that having a new baby brother was the best gift, I think it was the actual gift-wrapped soft toy Olly received that he loved the most as he could take it home and put it on his bed!
4. Stay calm and don’t worry about a photo-worthy introduction
Don’t overthink the introduction between new siblings; hospitals can be a strange unfamiliar environment for children with funny smells and sounds and that can unsettle them. Make the introductions in a place where you will all feel calm and relaxed. If that’s at the hospital, great but don’t worry if you need to introduce them both in the comfort of your own home. Additionally, don’t worry about the capturing the moment when they meet on camera, it’ll be in your heart forever.
5. Keep to routines
Whilst the introduction of a new brother or sister is the biggest change of all, try and keep routines as ‘normal’ as possible. Olly thrives on routine and whilst there’s nearly a five-year age gap between my two boys, we tried to keep mealtimes and bedtimes as routine as we could. Having his routine in place meant he knew what was happening and was more accepting of other changes at home.
Emma Shilton is a parenting and lifestyle blogger that writes for the blog that you can find here, www.mrsshilts.co.uk.