For you, expecting a new bundle of joy into the family can be the most wonderful thing in the world, but for your existing children, although they are likely to be excited about getting a little brother or sister, it may be an apprehensive time too.
When you bring a new baby into the equation, things are inevitably going to change. This can affect your children more than you imagine, which is why it is always a good idea to do everything you can to prepare them for the new arrival as positively as possible. When they know what to expect, and that it will be a good thing for you all, they will struggle less.
With that in mind, here are some of the most effective things you can do to help your children get ready for a new arrival in the family:
1. Talk about the baby coming
The most important thing you can do is to get your children used to the idea that they will be saying hello to a new brother or sister in a few months’ time. The best way to do this is to simply talk about it as often as you can. Talk about how you are growing a baby in your tummy and how one day, when he or she is ready he will come to live with you all and you will be a bigger and better family because of it.
2. Let them talk to the baby
Something that can really help your children to bond with the baby before he or she is even born is to encourage them to talk to your stomach and tell baby stories, sing it songs or even tell the baby a little bit about themselves. This will get them used to thinking of the baby as part of the family and less likely to resent the new arrival (as so many siblings do in those early days when baby needs a lot of attention).
3. Pray for the new baby
Having your kids include the new baby in their prayers is another, very sweet, way to get them to start thinking of the baby as being an important person in their life. So, every night before they go to bed, make them say a little prayer for the baby along with all the other people who they think about at that time.
4. Read baby-friendly bible verses
The Bible has a lot of very sweet verses about babies that it could be fun to read with your children to show them that babies are very important to God, and therefore, we must treat them with kindness and care when they come along.
Verses to read include:
- Jeremiah 1:5
- Psalms 127:3
- Proverbs 22:6
- Matthew 18:10
- Matthew 19:14
Read one verse every day and soon your kids will be bursting with excitement for the bay to finally arrive.
5. Read books about new siblings
Children’s authors know that some children can have a tough time welcoming a new sibling into their lives, which is why there are so many excellent children’s books that tackle the subject. Read them to your kids during storytime and they will develop a greater understanding of what happens when a new baby comes, and hopefully be excited to have a new playmate to share their home and their lives with.
6. Bring them to the doctor with you
If you have an appointment where you will be able to see the baby in a scan image, bring your kids along so they can see what the baby looks like inside you and start developing a bond with it (if you and your doctor are okay with it). Kids find that kind of stuff fascinating, so it’s definitely a good way to get them interested in the imminent arrival if they aren’t already.
7. Let them help you gather things for the baby
When you have a new baby coming, there will be a few things you need – the Baby Rocker: The Complete Buying Guide For Parents can help you work out what – and that means you have an excellent opportunity to get your child involved. Whether they help you bring their old baby clothes down from the attic and pick out which outfits they think the new baby might like, or you take them to the toy store and have them pick out a few toys they think the baby will like (be sure to get them a little something too to avoid feelings of jealousy), letting them do their big brother or sister duties before the baby is even here, and making it as much fun as possible, will help to get them in the right frame of mind.
8. Get them to make something for the baby
Something else that you might like to do with your kids is to help them make something for the baby. For example, you could teach them how to crochet and let them help you make baby blankets or you could get them to simply make a welcome card for the little bundle of joy. This is a good idea because it gives you some quality bonding time, and it allows your kids to state thinking about the fact that a baby will be coming, and it’s really sweet when you can let them present their handmade gifts to your baby when you bring him or her home.
9. Start doing a bit less for them
When your new baby arrives, he or she will demand a lot of your attention in those early months. If you handle this wrong, this could lead to your children feeling jealous or resentful of the baby because it will look like the baby has taken you away from them.
Something that can really help to avoid this happening is to gently start doing a bit less for your kids and getting them to help out more. If you frame it as you being tired and needing a rest, or as them becoming big girls and boys who can have more freedom and more responsibility to do things without the same level of supervision, they will probably love helping you.
10. Have them spend time with babies
If you have any friends or family members with a baby, then it could be a good idea to ask them if you can all get together and let the kids spend some time making a fuss of the baby. This will help to remove any fear of the unknown that the kids may have about babies and show them that having a little one around can be a lot of fun. If you make a fuss of them for holding the baby nicely or singing sweetly to her, for example, they will learn more about being gentle around the baby and they will see that, although there is a baby around, they will still get positive attention from you too.
11. Buy them a present
Material things are not the most important, we all know that, but before you head off to the hospital to give birth, it can be really nice to pick out a simple gift for each of your existing children, which they can open while you’re away from them to remind them you care. This can be something simple like a new pair of PJs or a book to read while you’re away – it’s the gesture that counts – but it will help them to know that they are not forgotten.
12. Pray for them
Praying for your children is a good way to help them at what can be a tough time in their journey. Ask God to help them through this transition in their lives; ask him to help them feel loved and secured and pray that they will take to their new sibling as quickly as possible. This will help also help you to work through your own worries and fears about how a new sibling will affect your child too.
13. Give it time
Of course, no matter how much preparation you do, there is always going to be an adjustment period when you have a new addition to the family. So, it is really important that you stay as patient with your kids as you can and give them the time they need to process the changes. They are only young and any upheaval to their lives can seem much bigger than it is to us adults, but they will get there in the end and will be great siblings to your new baby.
I hope you and your kids enjoy your new arrival. Congratulations!