Posts Tagged ‘siblings’

I am about three weeks from welcoming a new baby, baby number three. This is a major change in routine and family life, so preparing siblings for this major change can help in this transition. The preparation for each child will vary widely depending on the age of the child. However, no matter the age of the child there are some practical ways parents can help prepare new siblings for baby’s arrival.

A young child sitting on a bed with two adults and a baby
  • Have ongoing conversation about what is going on and what is to come:
    • Be honest, talk about how the baby is going to cry and need a lot of attention. Also let your child or children know that they won’t be able to play with baby until it’s older.
    • Let your child know that routines may change a little but try to keep the day to day activities the same. For example, mommy won’t be going to swimming lessons for a few weeks but grandma and grandpa are going to take you and it’s going to be so much fun.
    • Always reassure your child that even if you can’t be with them all the time, you still love him/her the same.
    • Focus on what the siblings can do. Depending on the age of the child they might be able to help feed, get a burp cloth, or hold the baby.
    • Prepare your child for when you are in the hospital. This can be very confusing for a young child. Explain who they are going to stay with, when you are going to be back, that you are going to be okay.
  • Get books about being a big brother or big sister and about having a new baby in the house. This can get you child to start thinking about their new role and the changes that might happen.
  • Get a doll for your child to help prepare and practice ways they might help with the new baby.
  • Let your child help prepare for the baby, like go shopping to get things for the baby together or let them set up some things in the room.
  • Set some time aside to do some special activities with you and other children before baby arrives.

While there are some great practical ways to help prepare siblings in their role, you can expect some setbacks such as regression and jealousy. However, having these ongoing conversations and activities can help in this major family transition.

Juliann Garey. Preparing Your Child for a New Sibling. 2023. Child Mind Institute. https://childmind.org/article/preparing-child-new-sibling/

HealthyChildren.org. How to Prepare Your Older Children for a New Baby. 2019 Adapted from American Academy of Pediatrics. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/prenatal/Pages/Preparing-Your-Family-for-a-New-Baby.aspx

Author: Katie Schlagheck, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ottawa & Sandusky Counties

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Franklin County

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