The time leading up to the birth of a baby is very exciting for a family. So many preparations (physically, emotionally and mentally) are done to welcome the little one. In the course of this, the parents might find they’ve focused so much on the baby’s arrival to the point where their children feel left out. How do you prepare your children to receive a new sibling ?

Depending on your child’s maturity level, tell them about the arrival of the baby during pregnancy. Let them know their brother/ sister will be arriving before, after or at a certain season if they’re too young to understand the concept of time. For example, just before Christmas, or around Easter time.

Be prepared to face questions about where babies come from. Your child is simply being curious. Answer them truthfully but in an age- appropriate manner. Make your child(ren) feel involved in welcoming their new sibling by going with them to the doctor to hear baby’s heartbeat, coming up with potential baby names, visiting friends who have infants and so on. Some hospitals offer sibling birth classes, which help soon-to-be brothers and sisters adjust.

As your due date approaches, make arrangements for the children. Try to have their daily schedules as uninterrupted as possible. When the baby arrives, scheduling times for the younger children to visit you in hospital when only close family is around. If they visit when there are friends and colleagues around, they might feel drowned out. Let it be a special, intimate family moment.

When taking the baby home, remember to include the child(ren) in taking care of the baby. This avoids feelings of neglect cropping up. Let them assist in tasks such as helping to dress the baby, singing lullabies, talking to the baby. This also fosters the bond between them.

As much as you’ll try to include the children, naturally more focus will be on the baby since they need a lot of care. Encourage your kids to talk about their feelings with you. Reassure them of your love. Explain that their little sibling needs more care since they can’t cater for their own needs yet. Apart from this, make deliberate effort to spend one-on-one time with the children whenever you can.


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