How to Prepare a Child for a New Sibling

Bringing a new baby into your family is a thrilling experience. But it’s important to keep in mind that it may be a rocky transition when your only child becomes an older sibling. That’s why it’s important to start early with helping them understand what to expect. If you’re interested in teaching kids about new babies, read on for some helpful information.

When you tell them matters

This may be trickier than you first expect. You don’t want to wait a full nine months to tell them you’re expecting. In this case, you’d risk your child hearing about your pregnancy from someone else or overhearing you talk about it with other adults.

Find a quiet time when the child is ready to listen—so, not when they’re hungry or tired or cranky. Tell them when you’re ready to make your pregnancy public, but before everyone else already knows. The more time the child has to adapt to the idea of welcoming a new sibling, the better.

How to introduce a new baby

Don’t be too anxious about telling your child—emphasize how excited you are to have a new baby and how it will be fun to have a sibling. Talk about how this change will be positive for your family. But remember that all change—whether for good or bad—is a challenge for children. Answer all their questions as best you can and listen to what they’re expressing.

Make childcare arrangements for the birth

When you’re preparing to give birth, make sure you have a childcare arrangement set up that everyone will be comfortable with. Whether you’re giving birth at home or in the hospital, you’ll need childcare. Ideally, have a trusted family member or friend on call who can help provide care during this time.

Make sure you have special time with your child

One common aspect of having a new sibling is that the older child feels like less attention is paid to them. To lessen these feelings, set aside special time to spend with your child, whether it’s reading books, enjoying playtime or taking them to a playground. You can start this before the new baby is born and continue it after your child becomes a big sibling. This will make your child feel supported and loved during this transition.

Don’t push the “older sibling” role

Try to remove any thoughts about how “big brothers” or “big sisters” behave. Remember that your child is still growing and developing—a big part of teaching kids about new babies is understanding that they’re not going to mature overnight just because you had a baby. Your child’s feelings about the new baby and their role in the family will change frequently. Validating those emotions—whether they’re positive or negative—is important.

At My Second Home Early Learning Center, we support developing young children every day. We’re a Christian childcare center and preschool that offers a welcoming learning environment for children of all skill levels and abilities. Contact us now to learn more about our programs and how we can help your child.