Today we have a guest post from Emma Baster who writes for EruditeMommy.comEruditeMommy.com. She’s written a great post all about her experience of helping an older child prepare for a sibling. Come read all about it!
Helping an older child prepare for a sibling existence is much harder than I thought.
Are you about to have a second child? Do you find it difficult to adapt with that?
If your answer is “Yes,” let me tell you my story. About a year ago, on a pleasant day, I received a breaking news that I got pregnant once again. After enjoying that cheerful and crazy information for 10 minutes, I came out of the bathroom and saw my 5-year-old daughter looking right at me. And here was our conversation:
Lulu (my daughter): Why were you singing in the bathroom, momma?
Me (did not expect any weird reaction from her and immediately tell her the truth): Lu, listen to me, I have great news for you. We are going to have a baby!!
Lulu (still kept staring at me): ….
Me: What’s wrong? Aren’t you happy about that?
Lulu: Sesame says since his mother had a new baby, she has not cared about him anymore. And her baby took all of his toys, and he had to sleep alone in a room. And a clown visited him every night, momma.
Me: Oh, Lu. It’s not that bad.
Lulu: Is that what going to happen to me, momma?
And then, she burst into tears for over an hour. Well done, momma! I felt really awful when making her cry like that. But my toddler could not be born without the welcome of every member of my family. Lu had to cope with the fact. So I started building a step-by-step plan to change her mind.
If you are having the same issue as mine, these are what you can do to prepare for your older child and tell them that you are still going to love him or her after the baby is born:
• Phase 1: Arrange at least 1 hour with your child every day
Arrange at least 1 hour with your child every day
1 hour is the best. If you don’t have that much time, 10 minutes would be acceptable. Spending time with your kid is the most wonderful way not to make him, or she feels lonely and has the thoughts just like Lulu had.
When I picked my daughter up at kindergarten, 1 hour later was always for her. I let her choose what she wanted to do and do it with her. Sometimes, she wanted to make clothes for her doll. And the other time, she loved cooking with me. And I often gave her compliments after she had done something well. Therefore, she felt happy all the time and still loved momma as usual.
• Phase 2: Teaching him or her how a baby is born
Teaching him or her how a baby is born
After Lulu had felt quite relieved that I would not abandon her, I started showing her how her sister was going to be born. I read her books about baby birth and some videos about fertilization. Of course, all of them were appropriate for her age but not so innocent like a stork would bring a child to our door. You can do those and tell your kid that was precisely how he came to your life, which was a miracle. So your toddler would be no different.
• Phase 3: Asking your child to help to prepare for his brother or sister
Asking your child to help to prepare for his brother or sister
In this stage, your kid will discover how adorable your new baby is and started loving him more. Lucky for me, Lulu was a girl so choosing clothes was what she loved best. I even had a chance to show her how to buy baby stuff. She was really excited and even told me that she would feed her sister. Some things began to change, right?
• Phase 4: Taking him or her to the doctor and hear the heartbeat of your baby
This is one of the best parts. Your kid will get a chance to feel his brother or sister more real than ever. When seeing that, Lulu thought it was a miracle. I was really touched when she put her hand on her heart and said: “Mom, the baby’s heart is just like my heart!” At that time, I knew my effort was ultimately paid off.
From this stage, everything became a lot easier.
• Phase 5: Telling your kid to make gifts for the baby
Making gifts or decorating a cradle is both excellent. However, I wanted my daughter to make a present with her own creativity. Then, I would make another and tell her that the baby made it for her. That was more meaningful due to as give-and-take action. That sounds great, right? And I showed its efficiency very naturally. Lulu was really excited when receiving the flower I made and put it on her bedside table to see it every day. You can try this phase, and I’m sure your child will be happy.
• Phase 6: Reminding your visitors to pay attention to your kid as well
Although it is the last step, it plays a very crucial role. All of your hard work can fall into pieces with one inattentive thing that adults say: “Your mom won’t love you anymore.” I completely reject to that teasing line. Therefore, I often reminded every visitor to play with Lulu a little before talking about the baby. So she would know that there was no greater favor for her sister.
Those are some of my experiences when dealing with older kids’ negative feeling of having a new baby. I have overcome it so you can do it as well. If you still have difficulties, don’t be shy to ask for help. I’m sure if you are not an only child, your parents will have more experiences than me. Good luck and I hope you succeed.
|Emma Baster is the editor of Eruditemommy.com. She understands deeply about the difficulties of pregnant women and mothers. Therefore, she built this blog to share her knowledge about nutrition, taking care of children, mommies’ health. Better care for families is everything she wishes to convey in this blog.