It is time for good cheer and happiness. You are getting ready to welcome your precious second one. Do not forget the fact that your first born also needs to be prepared for the new arrival- not just informed about.
Some simple measures, before and after the baby arrives, will ensure that the transition from an only child to an elder sibling is smooth.
- No Baby Blame. Keep the talk light and positive. Let the child not feel that pregnancy has made you sick or fatigued. If you do not feel up to physical activities with your child, gently divert their attention to less energetic activities like colouring.
- When you were a baby. Share their baby stories with them. Go through their baby photographs together and explain the different things you did together when they were babies. This makes your child realize that they were also much awaited and loved babies.
- Keep them informed. Explain to your child what can be expected out of a baby. That babies will not be able to play with them until much older, that babies cry often as that is the only way they can communicate.
- Make the changes. If you have been planning on toilet training your child or change the baby cot to a regular cot, make the changes now. You have more time and patience to deal with any related issues.
- Child Care. Whether you plan to employ a nanny for your child or enroll them in a day care, do it much before the baby arrives. Let your child not look at the sibling as a rival who caused this change
- Make them baby friendly. Visit other people who have babies. Hold their babies. Make your child understand that their parents can hold and fuss over other babies too.
- Give them Time. Most children do not bond with strangers. Yet parents expect them to fall in love with their siblings immediately. Some children do not expect the baby to live with them. Give your child time to adjust and adapt to this big change even if you have been preparing them for it.
- Surround them with love. Try to get help from your husband, in laws, parents and make sure there are people who are paying your child attention when you are busy with the baby. You can also seek help in taking care of the baby as you spend time with your older one.
- “You are my baby too”. Share the limelight with your child. Ask your child to introduce the baby to visitors. Involve your child in baby care activities like bringing things to you or helping with the bath.
- Make special time. Spare some time for the older one while the baby is sleeping. Do some activities together. Make it a special time for both of you.
- Be consistent. Keep bedtime, mealtimes and other routines same. If your child does ‘play up’, you need to set boundaries but continue with love and patience.
There is no proven formula for preparing every child for every baby. So stay flexible and be aware that your words and actions can affect both your child and the new baby. Hopefully, everyone in the family will look back at this time fondly later one day.