This last week, as we have been preparing for the new baby – nesting really – my 4 year old has been having a hard time preparing for a new baby sibling. Questions like, “Why does he have to use my baby bottles?” or “Why do we have to move my plates and cups for his stuff?” are becoming more frequent. She even begged daddy to “wear” her around the house in a baby carrier, which he did for about 20 minutes!
My husband and I sat down and discussed ways we can help prepare our four year old even more for the arrival of her new brother, and also make her feel like an important part of the family unit. Here are 10 ways we are preparing for a new baby sibling:
- Let her attend midwife appointments and hear the heartbeat, and see an ultrasound
- Discuss baby names with her and ask for her opinion
- Get her help cleaning and washing all the baby gear
- Pull out her baby photo books and look at them together
- Bring photos of her to hospital with us in our labor bag
- Bring wrapped gift to the hospital that will be from the new baby to her
- Let her help in clothing, cleaning, and diapering the baby (with supervision of course)
- Spend one on one time with the her while baby is sleeping
- Let her have her own special space with her own things that is hers alone
- Ask family and friends to be sensitive to her feelings
What have you done with your older children in preparing for a new baby sibling? I’d love to hear your ideas.