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.
Heather Kelly says
Both our kids know that mommy has a baby in her tummy. We are counting down the weeks till she will be born. I am also reading this book to our almost 3 year old daughter “I’m A New Big Sister.” http://www.amazon.com/Now-Growing-New-Big-Sister/dp/1601690096/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1337957070&sr=1-1
She loves the book and we pointed out that she is going to be like the new big sister in the book, and her baby sister is the baby. She enjoyed helping me go through all of the baby girl clothes and putting them away, and she has helped me to pick out what outfits that I am taking to the hospital with me. I have yet to purchase gifts for both kids from our new baby girl. But I figure that I will wait and their baby sister and I can give them their gifts together when we get home, since I will be coming home on my daughter Chloe’s real 3rd birthday day.
That will be really hard for me to not be there on her 3rd birthday day when she first wakes up in the morning. But I figure that when I get the baby settled in after nursing and then put her down to sleep, that I can spend some special time with Chloe holding her, cuddling her, and reading her a few NEW books! She LOVES books! So I will make sure to have some for her and a new baby doll of her very own!
I am going to have to check out that book, Heather. Thanks for sharing. I appreciate it! Happy Memorial Day Weekend!
I don’t have any advice, but enjoyed reading these ideas because we are expecting our 2nd in September. I am expecting the worst with my two year old so hopefully I will be happily surprised.
Some days I think my 4 year old will do fabulous but other days, I worry. I am going to just try and pay extra attention to her, love her, and let her help as much as possible.
One thing I always try to do for friends who have a second (or third…or fourth…) child is to bring the baby’s siblings a gift. My daughter appreciated this when someone did it for us. The new baby gets soooo much attention. It’s easier to be second fiddle when you have a fun new book or toy.
I hope my friends and family recognize this as well. It is kind of you. I will now have to remember this tip in the future too.
Amber- JadeLouise Designs says
My boys are only 14 months apart, so preparing for new baby brother was a little different. I helped my oldest realize it was “HIS baby brother”. gave him ownership in a way, so he was excited for him to arrive. We practiced “Nice” and “soft” motions on mommy’s belly before the baby was born so he would know how to treat the baby.
With my daughter, there was 5 years between my youngest and her being born. So again we gave our older boys “ownership” over her, it was THEIR baby sister. They loved it. I let them help pick out the toys and clothes. Let them help organize the nursery and we read lots of children’s books about the fun things that come with a new baby sister.
I’ve been very blessed that none of my kids have been angry about a new sibling but have been excited.
Those are great ideas, Amber. I am glad that your kids were included and not angry but excited about a new sibling. Mine is quite excited, but even this morning she brought up her drawer in the kitchen being taken by bottles. It is upsetting for her to share. I just need to work with her.
Elizabeth P. says
I haven’t done anything yet except show her the new baby clothes and have her talk to bean….
I don’t really have any advice, but you guys must be so excited. It’s almost time!!!
I haven’t dealt with this yet, but I love this idea: •Bring wrapped gift to the hospital that will be from the new baby to her.
Once she sees the new baby and knows what she’s dealing with, I think she will love her. 🙂
Janelle Prentice says
Those sounds like great tips! I need to remember these for when I end up in that situation : ) I have a feeling my son is going to need lots of extra loving when that time comes!
She saw the gifts today, wrapped. I told her that her brother wanted to get her something and she believed it. She is so excited. I told her he had to be here and see her open them 😉