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Help siblings welcome your new baby

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Help siblings welcome your new baby

Parents can learn strategies on how to introduce and prepare their older children for the addition of a new baby. It’s not uncommon for youngsters to feel threatened by the arrival of a new sibling. A child may question whether their parents will still love him or her, and whether there will still be time to share together. To address these concerns and more, here are steps to make the expansion of the family go more smoothly.

Keep communication flowing: When you decide you’re going to inform children you are pregnant, present it in a way that will explain what a new brother or sister will mean to your family. Ask your children’s opinions and answer any concerns.

Read books together: There are many titles that address feelings of inadequacy or explain the process of a new baby. These books will be tailored to children’s level of awareness and education and can present the concept in terms they’ll understand.

Explain what is going on in your body: Inquisitive children will want explanations as to why your body is changing. A visit to the obstetrician’s office, where there may be charts and diagrams, can help call out the parts of the body. You may have to explain your delicate state and how a baby is growing inside.

Provide plenty of reassurance: Tell your other children constantly that you love them and will always be available for them despite the new baby.

Ask for help: Young children often enjoy being Mom or Dad’s special helper. Assign baby-related tasks to other children, such as stocking diapers, filling baby bottles, helping to fold baby clothes, etc. Put emphasis on the fact that you need the help and that baby appreciates it from his or her big brother or sister.

Buy a special gift: A T-shirt that says “Big Brother” or “Big Sister” or something that your child always wanted can help placate mixed feelings about a baby that will soon be hogging everyone’s attention for the time being. Although it will be difficult in the early months with sleepless nights, schedule one-on-one time with your other children to express your gratitude and love for them.