After the first pregnancy it is normal to think we have everything under control, but the reality is that although the second pregnancy tends to be much easier because we already know the process and we are not as nervous as the first time, we usually face other situations, and one of the concerns of parents is how to introduce the first child to the new sibling.
This type of situation can generate stress for some parents because they want the process to be as friendly as possible, reducing the possibility of frustration and jealousy for the older toddler. But we must remember that this process is different depending on the age of the first child. And according to Mayo Clinic, usually children under the age of 2 do not understand what is happening and still do not have the ability to understand it. It is always important to try to talk to them and show them pictures of babies. For kids between the ages of 2 and 4, there is still quite a strong attachment between the children and their parents, so it is important to explain to them about the arrival of the new baby and explain things such as why the baby needs more attention. Another way to help the process for children aged 2-4, is to give them a doll or stuffed toy so they can be a caregiver, too. And finally, school-age children are the ones who tend to be most jealous when they see that the newborn catches all the attention, so it is important to explain to them about the needs of the newborn and also explain the advantages of being the eldest sibling.
But of course, regardless of the age of the oldest child, it is always important to make the adaptation process as bearable as possible, and explain to children that just because they will have a little brother or sister their parents stop loving them, paying attention or spending time with them. For this reason today we will talk about 15 ways to introduce the second born to the first.
15 Breaking The News With A Game
According to the website Parenting, the best way to give the news it keeps things simple.
With children under 2 1/2, it is better to wait until we can see a little more of the belly to inform them, because trying it before can be confusing for the toddler. And something that can be done to give them the great news is to let them know through a game or try to make a fun dynamic. Many parents begin by explaining "When moms and dads love each other, they sometimes decide to have a baby", and we can point to our bellies and explain that the baby is growing inside mommy. Moreover, something that also helps is to find an album of photos of the baby and tell them how it was when they were in mom's belly.
Children under 3 years are usually still "egocentric" and require more attention, so it is always advisable to explain step by step the type of situations that the family will face when the new baby arrives, such as explaining that mommy needs to feed them, or situations like "Mommy will carry the baby a lot, just like she did with you." And we can always take advantage of the 9 months of gestation to take that time and explain to our son or daughter, everything we think necessary about the new baby, in that way, when the time comes it will not be a shock for them
14 Introducing The Belly
Using the gestation period is an excellent option to explain to our toddler all the changes that are occurring and will happen after the arrival of the baby, in a non-invasive or drastic way.
Explaining to our eldest son or daughter, that the baby is growing inside Mommy's belly and creating a connection between both brothers or sisters is necessary.
Whether it's reading stories before going to sleep, listening to music together, feeling when the baby moves or even talking to our belly and giving kisses to it, these are activities that will help our eldest kid to adjust to the arrival of the new member of the family.
It is important to create a periodic or daily presentation of the baby that is growing in our belly with our oldest child, to teach them to call him/her "the baby" and in the case that the mother and her partner find the perfect name for the baby before birth, it is important to teach the toddler to call the baby by her/his name. Besides, involving the child in the process will make the toddler feel more familiar with the change, whether it is showing the kid the sonograms and making a comparison about when they were in Mommy's womb, all this will help at the time of the arrival of the newborn, and our eldest kid will not feel that he/she is a complete stranger who came to steal their family.
13 Include The Child In The Prenatal Process
Nowadays, we have the technology and different apps at our fingertips that allow us to track the stages of our pregnancy and learn new things.
These types of tools can be helpful in communicating to our older son/daughter about the new brother or sister that's coming.
We can do things such as show them what size the baby is in each month, teach them by funny dynamics how their brother's / sister's development is going.
And according to Parenting.com, another good option for our toddler to better understand what is happening is to take them with us to the prenatal check-ups so they can listen to the baby's heartbeat and see the ultrasound images. In addition, today there are classes for expectant siblings, where children can learn along with other kids how a new baby is and their needs. This type of activity helps them to become familiar with all the situations they will face after the arrival of the baby, such as mommy feeding the newborn, mommy or daddy changing combs or carrying the baby trying to reassure them so that he/she does not cry, among other things. And they will explain the reasons why babies cry and their behaviors in each phase of their growth, through fun activities.
12 Spread The Praise
With all the attention the new baby is going to have, it is normal for our older son/daughter to feel a bit neglected or even jealous, especially when they see all the things mommy and daddy are preparing for the new baby, such as his/her room, toys, and other gifts. That's why Parenting.com recommends spreading the praises. Even when there are guests in the house it is always good to make the suggestion that when the adults talk about the new baby and our older child is present it is good to praise them both with comments like: "What a beautiful baby," accompanied by, "Now we have two beautiful children" or "And she has a beautiful big brother!"
This kind of praise or admiring comments helps our toddler feel included and feel that they are also important, and the new baby did not come here to steal everyone's attention so they would forget about him/her.
In addition, another of the things that parents can do when they are preparing the baby's new room is to ask the child to help them and explain to him/her why the baby needs those things. And if the parents can, buying some new object for the decoration of the child's room will make them feel important too.
11 "I Love You Both In Special Ways"
As parents, we must learn to get out of the "who's best" trap. Of course, it is inevitable that sometimes our eldest son/daughter asks us the million dollar question "who is the favorite?" or "Who do you love most?" These types of concerns occur because our children seek to reaffirm our love for them and feel that they are still important to us, which is why it is essential that as parents we already have a prepared response and manage to alleviate that concern or uncertainty in our children.
According to Parenting.com, the best way to answer this question is as follows: "I love you both in special ways."
And it may be accompanied by the analogy of love and the sun. Sharing the sun with the rest of the people in the world does not mean that you get less of it. We must help them understand that we still love them but in a unique and individual way, with phrases such as "You are my first child, and no one else will ever be my first child. "
And although our oldest son/ daughter never tries to corner us with the question of who is the favorite, it is always important to remind them that we love them equally and that they are still important in our lives.
10 Create A Routine
The truth is that when a baby arrives in our lives, maintaining a routine becomes complicated because a newborn does not understand schedules. He/she only wants his/her needs met, and our older toddler probably does not understand why the new baby demands so much attention. For this reason it is important to use our 9 months of pregnancy to talk with our toddler and create a routine or some habits within their day to day, such as a time to get up and a time to sleep, time to eat, play and if they are already in school age, give them an hour to get home, eat , rest and do homework, and then give to them time to play and go to sleep.
The routines help children to have some stability in their lives.
In this way when the new baby arrives, they will not feel that everything in their environment has changed drastically or that he or she is no longer a priority for mommy and daddy because a new sibling arrived.
And according to the website, Guía Infantil, children need to follow a routine to feel safe and calm in their own environment, and creating repetitive habits help them to build an emotional balance, this provides stability, maturity and helps them to learn how to face certain situations more calmly.
9 Quality Time With Daddy And Mommy
As parents, we know that a newborn always requires a little more of our attention and time, especially because they still do not distinguish when it is a good moment or not. Therefore it is essential that during the first 9 months the parents not only dedicate themselves the new baby and everything they will need, but we must also think about our dear toddlers. Creating a routine between Mommy, Daddy, and our son/ daughter is fundamental. Whether reading a story every night before sleeping, watching movies together, playing, going to the park or even talking is essential because we are showing our son/daughter that we care about them. And I must emphasize, that this routine must continue even after the birth of the new baby.
Of course, in this time that we are focused on our children, we should be away from phones or work issues. Besides, it is important to mention the new baby and explain to our kid their new role as an older sibling, highlighting all the positive aspects of his/ her new role.
According to Parenting.com, we don't need to do something so out of the ordinary or spectacular to show our children that we care.
Even 15 minutes a day while we are watching TV cuddling in bed with them can make a big difference.
8 Talk With The Toddler
Talking with our dear toddler is the key. Luckily we have a period of 9 months to talk with our children about their new role as the elder sibling and step by step explaining to them how it will be with the arrival of their new brother or sister. If our child is older than 4 years we can always explain to them the advantages of being the older brother/ sister and the things that they can teach to their new sibling.
According to Parenting.com parents can take advantage of their children's curiosity and imagination.
Share time with them and the belly, while creating a good dynamic by asking them what they think the baby is thinking about, or what activities or games they want to play when the baby arrives.
Even when the baby is born, this type of conversation should continue and be encouraged with comments such as "When the baby grabs you and holds on tight, she/he is telling you how much she/he loves you." We must remember that although our children may feel jealous of the new baby, at their age curiosity works as a magnetic way so they'll always try to approach the baby and know more about them, so as parents we must take advantage of that natural curiosity of our children to explain to them about the new baby, their role as big brother/sister and about how much Mommy and Daddy love them both.
7 Let The Toddler Interact With Other Babies
If our first child is not used to dealing with babies it is essential that before the arrival of the new baby we expose our child to deal with the babies of friends or relatives, this will allow them to become familiar with newborns or babies a bit older, and will help them to understand their behavior and their needs. During this type of interaction, we can take advantage of this opportunity to explain to them that their new little brother or sister will look like the baby we are introducing to them, and anything else related to the baby. It is important to let them touch them and talk to the baby because it will strengthen their confidence.
When they meet their sibling it will not be a strange or stressful situation for them because they will already have the tools to know how they should behave.
We must take into consideration that the first time we expose our oldest child to a baby may not be the perfect situation, so we should try to let them interact with babies a couple of times before the arrival of the baby until our toddler feels completely comfortable. In addition, this type of activities should be accompanied by explanations of how well he/ she will play his/her role as the big sibling and the desire for their little brother/ sister to meet them and share time together. Making our children feel important will help with the process of adaptation and reduce jealousy and frustration.
6 Have A Neutral First Introduction
Okay! At this stage, the new member of the family will already be born, and many experts recommend that the first introduction should be neutral.
According to the website Community Today, the ideal is that neither of the parents hold the newborn when the oldest child meets the baby for the first time, it is best if we put the baby on the crib or stroller, thus avoiding any first negative impression.
When the parents do this process with the eldest son/ daughter it gives the impression that both are coming together to meet the baby, generating a moment of solidarity where the eldest toddler will feel that they are doing this together. Both are getting to know the new member of the family for the first time, and is not a situation where they are forcing them.
Why is it important to take care of the little details during that first introduction? Because children do not perceive things in the same way as adults, and if the first impression is to see mom and dad with the baby, our kid may feel ignored and wonder why they had kept him/ her away from such an important event. And although some parents prefer to hold the baby during that first introduction, it is always good to talk with our toddler before the delivery process is too advanced and remind them how much we love them and explain to them that his/her new sibling is already coming, so mommy must go to the hospital or birth center to receive the baby.
5 Make Sure Visitors Are Courteous With Both Kids
With the arrival of a new baby it is normal that our friends and family want to come visit us and meet the new member of the family, but it is important to remember that the new baby cannot steal all the attention in this type of events because our toddler can start feeling ignored or even jealous to see that everyone seems to pay more attention to the baby than to him/her.
And according to the Community Today website, we must remind our visitors that each time they compliment the baby they should try to do it for both children if our oldest child is present.
In the same way, if our guests decide to bring a gift for the baby, we should ask them if they can bring something for our older child as well, it does not necessarily have to be expensive, but even if it is some candies, this gesture will make our older child feel important too. Also, if the guests only bring gifts for the baby it is best to open it at a time where the older child is not present. This will avoid upsetting them or make them feel jealous about all the attention and gifts their new sibling is receiving.
4 Double The Gifts
As I explained before, after the birth of the baby it is normal that family and friends want to come and meet the new baby and come with gifts for the baby. So it is common for our older kid to feel jealous when they see that the newborn receives so much attention and gifts from people. Remember that these situations are perceived differently by children so this type of situation can trigger tantrums, frustration, and jealousy.
That's why many parents have decided that when they introduce both siblings the best thing is to give a gift to our oldest child on behalf of the baby.
Seeing that they receive a gift that they did not expect will make them look more sympathetic to the baby and not feel ignored by others.
According to Parenting.com, we can not force all of our guests to bring gifts for both children, so we can get small gifts like toys (not very expensive) and candies for our oldest child and give it to the guests so in that way they can give it to our kid. In addition, this website recommends that the older sibling can be the one who unwraps the baby's gifts, so in this way he or she would be the one who gives them to their new baby brother/sister.
3 Help The Kid Feel Important With “Responsibilities”
Something we can do to help our older child feel included and want to share time with his/her new sibling is to give them small tasks that they can do. This helps them feel included and important, and by adding a compliment every time they finish a task they will be more receptive to everything that concerns the baby.
According to Parenting.com, simple and daily tasks, such as asking them to get us a clean diaper for the baby or asking them to help us with the bathing time for the baby, will make our toddler understand his/her new role as an older sibling and strengthen a connection with the baby.
In addition, this time together as a family serves to talk and relate everything that the baby needs to things we did for our first child, such as explaining that "Mommy and Daddy used to shower you like that when you were a baby" or "Mommy and Daddy used to help you to sleep by singing a song to you ".
And although parents must understand that their older children will not always want to help, because there will be good days and bad days, we should always try to include them in activities because this will help reduce frustrations and jealousies. Congratulating them will make them feel they are doing a good job. We need them to complete those tasks, which is why they will want to do their big brother/sister work often.
2 Preventing Boredom
The truth is that children will always be children and in their small world they will want to do the things that they enjoy and not be paying attention 24 hours a day to their new sibling, for which it is understandable that they get bored or require attention in moments when we are breastfeeding the baby or we are busy doing another activity.
Therefore Bellamysorganic.com.au explains that for those moments we should have an exclusive play area for our eldest son/daughter where they can entertain themselves and play with their favorite toys or just watch their favorite movie/Tv show.
Also, if we can have the fortune of having a relative to help us during the first months, everything will be easier because while we take care of the baby, the grandmother or aunt can dedicate time to the eldest child, while helping us with other stuff regarding the house such as cleaning or cooking.
This website also recommends that we should change what they call the "feeding box" with different toys every day. In that way this activity does not become monotonous for our older child because they will always find something new to entertain while we are feeding the baby.
1 Nurturing Interactions
Our children, at some point will face the moment when they will not understand why the baby behaves in a specific way or why the baby cries so much. So we as parents must serve as translators to our kids and explain things to them like "babies do not know how to talk, so they cry to let us know that they are hungry". Helping them to understand what the baby "thinks" will help them begin to understand their needs and may even encourage them to want to help when the baby is crying or try to play with the baby to distract them.
According to the Bellamysorganic.com.au website, we must nurture the interactions between the two so that a bond between siblings is created. We do not necessarily have to perform activities outside the normal, as parents we can take advantage of those moments in bed with the baby and our child and talk to them and explain things about their little brother/ sister or just enjoy being in bed while the 3 of us enjoys a nap. Moreover, another thing that can help to strengthen a bond is to allow our toddler to hold the baby or try to carry him/her while they are on the couch or bed with us, this will help them to feel more comfortable with the baby.