Welcoming a new baby into your home is a magical time, for the whole family. Depending on the ages of older siblings, there may be jealousy, excitement, a mixture of both or the older toddler may worry that the baby will take a toddler's place in the house. Slightly older children likely won't feel like they are losing their place, but they may still be afraid of losing all the focus if they grew used to being the only child. No matter the situation, there are ways to prepare older children to welcome new baby with open arms.
Preparing to Have 2 Under 3
When you're dealing with a one or two-year-old who is currently still in diapers, they will likely regress. If they were starting to sleep in their own big kid bed, they may want to go back to the crib or they may start having accidents when they were close to potty trained. That will be normal and one major point is to make sure to prepare for them to regress and to time their changes. Kids need routine, and a new baby will shake up their established routine. It will take them a little while.
Get them involved as much as you can. Take them shopping to pick out some toys, clothes or other items to prepare the nursery. Let them pick a special toy or book out for them to personally give the baby.
Let them feel your belly when the baby kicks or during ultrasounds.
Make sure you spend special time throughout the pregnancy with your child. Do things your child loves doing and make any last solo holidays especially special (especially birthday or Christmas).
If Your Child is Over the Age of Three
Have them visit in the hospital and when you bring the baby home, give them small tasks. Allow them to hold the baby (with supervision for younger children) and praise them if they are gentle.
Be sensitive to their feelings and find a gentle way to let them know. Don't spring it on them and let them know all the positives and negatives that will come with their new sibling
Make sure you don't miss rehearsals, practice or big games. Hire a sitter or bring the baby with you but you want this change to be felt less by an older child.
Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Expect some jealousy, especially if they were only children but hope they will be as excited as you are.
Include them in the shopping, decorating and like younger children, let them pick out a special gift.
There are many ways children can and will react when you're expecting a new member of your family but keep in mind they will grow to love each other and will grow up to be best of friends. How you handle it now will help your older children adjust to the new baby.