Having a new baby is going to be a big adjustment for everyone, but particularly for the first child, especially if he’s only a toddler. Toddlers haven’t fully grasped the concept of sharing yet, especially the attention of his parents.
While children have different reactions to a new sibling, here are some effective ways to introduce a new baby to your child that will make the process easier:
Introduce him to his sibling even before the baby is born
Experts recommend that you get your first born involved as early as possible so that he has plenty of time to adjust. Show him photos of the ultrasound, take him to pre-natal visits if possible to hear the heartbeat and let him touch your baby bump and feel the kicks. It would be fun to listen to music and talk to the bump together as well. This will help your child get excited for the new baby.
Make the first meeting memorable
Once the baby is born, one of the things to look forward to is the first meeting of your children. To make it memorable for everyone, especially to your first child, have your husband or a member of the family take him on a “fun date” before heading to the hospital to meet his sibling. Take him to a nearby park to play or get him some ice cream – him being in a good mood before the meeting will help create positive associations to the baby.
It would also help to have your new baby “give” a simple gift to your older child. A new book or a new toy and saying “congratulations on being an older brother/sister” will further his likeness to the new addition in his life.
Involve him in taking care of the baby
Kids love having jobs to do – it helps them have that feeling of accomplishment. Look for small ways to involve your older child in caring for the baby. Have him show his favorite toy, sing a song or even throw a dirty diaper. This will make him feel that he is not left out despite all of the changes happening.
Apart from these tips, make sure that you make your older child feels that he is not being replaced. Have the rest of the family focus on him during times you need to focus on the baby so he knows that he’s still loved and nothing much ha changed.