Bringing a new baby home for the first time can be a big adjustment for your other children, which can add extra stress on mama. So, I wanted to give you ten quick tips on how to help big brother and sister welcome the new baby home. Depending on your child’s age, it may take some time to help them adjust to a new baby. Just stay patient and follow these tiny yet important tips:
1. Start early
While you are still pregnant, read books about Big Brother or Sister to introduce the idea of being a “big.” There are plenty of options to choose from, just pick one and start as soon as you tell your child that you are having a baby.
2. Introduce a baby to a child
When a big brother/sister comes in to meet the baby, introduce the baby to their new sibling by saying, “Baby, this is your big brother! He is going to help take care of you and you are going to love him so much!” Just make sure that you make your child feel special and honored.
3. Exchange gifts in the hospital
Your baby will be getting lots of attention and gifts, so make sure your big child gets at least one gift, too. Even better, make it ‘from’ the baby and have the big sibling give the baby a gift, too.
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4. Get them to help
Show your child that they can be a big help to you with the baby so they feel included. Have them grab diapers and throw dirty ones away. Ask them to get you a burp cloth or towel. Simple tasks that make them feel important will make a huge difference.
5. Keep them busy
You can’t just say, “I am busy.” Have pre-made ‘busy bags’ for your child to keep them occupied while you nurse or bathe the baby. Sit them down in a safe place and let them play on their own.
6. Give them their own baby
Let a Big Sister pick out a new dolly so you both have your babies to take care of. Have her feed Dolly or change her clothes while you do the same with the baby. It can’t be applied to boys, though.
7. Show them how to play with baby
Show your children games to play with the new baby so they start to interact as siblings. Games like peek-a-boo and show-and-tell are safe and fun. Just do not leave them to play alone.
8. Celebrate being big
When the big kids start to get jealous of the baby, help them see all the advantages of being a big kid. They can eat hot dogs, they can run and play, they can stay up later, and so on.
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9. Set aside special time
Spending one-on-one time with your older children every day will make sure they still feel special. Even just a few minutes at bedtime reading a story and saying prayers will make a huge difference in your big children’s eyes.
10. Pick your battles
Go into this transition knowing that it is going to be just that, a transition. Your older children will probably have moments where they act up to get attention. They will not be able to articulate their feelings very well, either. Anticipate that and loosen up a little. But also stand your ground on rules that you think are important to maintain. Children need boundaries.
Growing your family is an exciting time but I know that your mama’s heart wants to make sure everyone feels loved and cherished. I hope these tips help you spread the love. Just remember, you can only be in one place at one time, show yourself some grace as you get adjusted to this new chapter.