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How To Prepare Your Child For The Arrival Of A Sibling

The arrival of a sibling can be pretty scary for kids. It's a change in their whole life… they go from being your one and only and not having to share you, to having this new little one who is vying for your attention all the time. That can be pretty annoying for a kid, and it's a major change.

They may be going from having their own room and space, to having to share a bedroom with their new sibling. They're going to be possibly handing over old clothes to this new little one, old toys… their sense of things being theirs and only theirs is being shaken to the core.

It's honestly pretty frightening for some kids, and they react poorly… sometimes with yelling, or crying, or even sometimes with bouts of violence. You don't want that, for many reasons.

Honestly, though, they're mainly looking for you to guide them. This is all new to them, you're the one who has knowledge on the matter to prep them for the arrival of their new baby sister or brother… If they don't know how to react, then they often won't react well, if that makes sense. No knowledge is not good knowledge, in this case.

There are ways to help get them involved that will make them far more amiable to the thought of having a new little brother or sister in the house. It's time to make them feel special, even though their life is about to go topsy turvy.

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7 Allow Them To Go Baby Shopping With You

Kids love spending time with mom and dad, and since you need to get baby stuff anyhow, why not let them shop with you? When I was pregnant with my youngest, I not only allowed her to help shop, she also picked colors and some of the outfits and things, and she loved it!

It made her feel so involved and very interested in her sister and what she needed. She picked out diapers, she picked out toys, decorations, and she even picked out our pack and play. And it made her feel like she mattered in the process.

You can make most of the choices for your new little one and what is bought, but letting go of the reins and allowing their big sibling to help out, can really make them excited! And you can still pick a quality product and allow them to make a choice.

If you're looking at car seats, pick two designs of the same seat for your child to choose from, and allow them to pick which one they like best. It's a great way to promote closeness between baby and sibling before the baby even comes.

6 Spend Plenty Of Time Together Before Baby Comes

The introduction of a sibling is also the loss of being alone with mom and dad, in the eyes of a child. To that regard, just a bit of extra time doing something fun, can help ease the transition into sibling-hood.

We tried to take my older child out a good few times, every chance we got actually, just to let her know she wasn't being overshadowed, she was still special to us, and that things, while they would change, would not be as big of a deal. That we would always try and spend one on one time with her no matter what.

We let her pick what she wanted to do, and if she was good all week, we'd do a fun weekend activity, and we still try and do those now, we just incorporated her sister in a way that eased her into it. It truly did help her to adjust to being a big sister.

And that doesn't always mean a big trip or pricey activity, it can mean simple craft days at home where you sit and do crafts, or it can mean a game day where everyone does games! Kids don't care about the price, they just want to spend time with you.

5 Let Them Help Decorate The Nursery

Whether it's painting or simply putting up decals, letting an older sibling help decorate can help them get more excited! We allowed my child to simply put up stickers and decals around her sister's part of the room, and she loved it because she played a part, and that's all she wanted.

All she wanted was to play a part in her sister's entry into the world. She wanted to feel as important as her sister, and by allowing her to help with the baby's room helped with her self-importance.

They can even help paint if you're painting the nursery! Kids of all ages love to paint, it's great fun for them! (Make sure it's a lead-free paint!) Just put on some messy clothes and let them go to town on the walls! And if you don't like just how they did it, you can always go back over it with another coat, just to smooth out the paint.

4 Talk Often About How Awesome Being A Big Sister/Brother Is

Hype your kiddo up about becoming a big sibling! No, seriously, that can definitely help! Think about it like this, the more excited they are about something, the more they'll be anxiously waiting for it.

Tell your child how awesome being a big sibling is, how much fun it is to have a baby sister or brother, get them a big brother or sister shirt, let them get a baby bear for the baby, and let them dote on their baby sibling before baby even gets here!

The thing about kids is, they adore just being involved, and hyping them up includes them in what's going on. It makes them feel special in another way.

Explain how being a big sibling comes with a whole new set of responsibilities, and how much mommy will need their help to do things, and how useful they will be! Believe me, kids adore being useful, and that in itself is hyping it up for them!

3 Let Them Help With A Name

Obviously, the name Fluffy Gem is a no-go, but, if your kids have any ideas, and I mean any ideas, at least hear them out and let them tell you what they're thinking! It validates their ideas and thoughts, even if that's not what you end up going with. And when you come down to final decisions, it may not hurt to let them be a valid part of that decision as well, and get their input.

After all, they may have input as to the name that you wouldn't have, especially if they're in school. They may have nickname ideas, and if they truly hate the name, they can let you know that as well.

What is in a name? Well, a name can tell you a lot about a person, and it's lovingly chosen by the mom and dad for the new baby, so including the older sibling can truly be a great thing. It can strengthen the bond between baby and sibling, and it can even make the sibling feel like they're making or helping to make a decision about their baby brother or sister.

2 Get Them A Baby Doll So They Can 'Practice'

And yes, I mean this for boys too, because honestly, a baby doll won't hurt your child. It can teach a child some valuable nurturing skills when you let them practice with a doll, and it can get them some hands-on training for the real thing.

You can teach them how to hold a baby, how to feed it if they will be helping with that, how to help with diapers and clothes… dolls can be real learning experiences for kids. And they're fun and risk free. When in doubt, break the doll out.

I know many parents are iffy about giving little boys dolls, but they truly can be very useful tools for teaching new big brothers or sisters about what is expected when caring for a sibling.

It can show them that their baby brother or sister is fragile, that they need special love and attention, and it can even give them a test run of how things will go, how baby will go in his or her seat, bed, and high chair later on. Visual demonstrations are great for kids, and they can really help cement in what's to come, and make it more real for them. 

1 Teach Them About Babies And What Babies Need

And going along with the previous one, teaching siblings about what the new baby will need can help soften the blow of a baby getting a lot of the attention. If they learn ahead of time about the constant bottles, the many, many diaper changes, the constant care needed, then the older sibling may not get as jealous over the attention their little sister or brother gets.

And while jealousy can come with the territory, it's also not something you want to see happening, and can really stress a sibling relationship. It's best to nip jealousy in the butt early on, in any way you can, before it gets worse.

And you can teach kids about babies without going into graphic details, you know! Kids are like sponges, and even teaching them the basics, can help a ton, and can even get them interested and curious about helping you out!! Big siblings are great feeders, and older ones are even great diaper changers sometimes!

Give them a chance to be of help, and they may surprise you. Heck, they may even be wanting to help and just not sure how to bring that up to you. Give them the chance they deserve, and they'll shine and do their best to help their baby sister or brother grow up big and strong.

All in all though, it's up to you to get them interested and keep them that way, not the child's. If you don't get them interested then they're often likely to lose interest, and it can even lead to jealousy, which often leads to sibling rivalry. Sibling rivalry is never fun. That bond has to be made in the early years, and once it's there, man those kids will do anything for each other.

It's a truly beautiful thing to see, when you see your children showing each other genuine love and affection. Let them help, let them be involved, and before you know it you'll see that sibling gently helping teach their baby brother or sister how to walk, talk, crawl, and play, and you're going to be so, so glad you involved them when that time comes.

Remember, the earlier that bond is forged, the harder it will be to break later on. Forge it young, and remember it's never too early to start! 

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