How to Help a Child Transition to her Role as Sibling
For a newly-pregnant couple, the idea of ?life with baby? is filled with a mixture of feelings ranging from anxious anticipation to Zen-like calm. The second time around, mom and dad have a better grasp on parenthood, yet there remains to be a facet of their comfortable life as three that shouldn?t be ignored: how to help a child transition to her role as sibling. Here are five ways to help prepare a child for a new baby:
1. Allow your child to be an active participant in the pregnancy experience. Many care providers welcome the opportunity to include siblings-to-be during prenatal visits. Likewise, check with your local hospital or birthing center to see if they offer classes for children, which are designed to stress the importance of the older sibling through creative and hands-on activities.
2. Read books with your child to help illustrate how life with a new baby in the house will change the dynamics of your family. Use stories as a platform for answering questions your child may have.
3. Discuss what will happen when you have the baby. If you plan to have your baby at the hospital or a birthing center, let your child know who will take care of her and for how long. If you will have a midwife-assisted homebirth, use age-appropriate terms to discuss what your child is likely to see or hear.
4. Reassure your child that she will continue to be an important member of the family once the new baby arrives. Talk about your child?s role as an older sibling and assuage any fears of her feeling left out.
5. Expect your older child to exhibit a few negative attention-getting behaviors. A child?s yelling or hitting is quite normal, so remember to praise her for her good behavior, such as gentle touching.
With a little patience and understanding, you can help your child welcome a new baby into the family successfully.