During your pregnancy, you may have imagined the moment when your older child meets their new sibling for the first time. You might be excited about this meeting or nervous or a bit of both. That’s totally understandable! A new child marks a significant shift in your family dynamic, and that can be a little overwhelming.
No matter how much you prepare, you can’t predict how your child will react to their new sibling. But you can do your best to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Encourage friendship before baby arrives
As a mom, you and your new baby are developing a relationship before your little one even appears earth-side. Your other child can foster a relationship before the baby is born as well! Let them touch your baby bump or talk and sing to the baby. Ask your child what they think the baby is doing in your tummy. The more you help them feel involved in the pregnancy journey, the more interested they will be when your new addition arrives!
Make the first meeting fun
Take time to make sure your older child’s first meeting with the new baby is a special and memorable moment. It’s important that your child has positive associations with the baby. You don’t have to do anything huge, but a trip to grab ice cream or eat at a favorite restaurant before the meeting can help your older child have positive thoughts about the day they met their new little brother or sister.
Give a gift to your older child
New babies get all the presents, and you don’t want your child to feel left out or resentful. Consider having the newborn “give” a gift to their older sibling, or if you child is too old for that concept, simply call it a congratulatory gift for being a big brother or sister. Your gift can be anything your child will find delightful, whether that’s a new toy, a favorite snack, or a book.
Pay extra attention to big brother or sister
It’s natural for your child to feel a little upset that the new baby gets all the attention, so make sure you’re intentional about putting the focus on your older child. If you’re holding baby when big brother or sister arrives, put the newborn back down and take time to talk to your child and ask them about their day. Putting your focus on your older child helps them see that they’re just as loved and important, even if they’re not the baby anymore.
Give your child tasks to do
Depending on their age, you can give your older child some jobs to do to help you care for the newborn. Whether it’s singing a lullaby to the baby or even helping with diaper changes or feedings, allow your child to feel more involved in the care of the new baby. This can go a long way in helping them feel a part of the change in your family, instead of feeling left out. Plus, let’s be honest, you’ll need all the help you can get!