Raise your hands if you have seen the movie Boss Baby and squirmed at the moment the young boy gave that shocked, angry cum who-the-hell-are-you glance when the father said “meet your new baby brroootheeerrr”. Remember? Hearing all the tales and watching movies can be a little intimidating for second-born parents. Fret not people! It’s just your child and you have been handling every demands and situations he/she has faced from birth. Preparing your older child for the newer baby is nothing but a piece of cake. Don’t get things complicated. You know your child best; the demands, the likes and dislikes, the anger, the frustration and finally what love means for your little one. So, preparing or introducing the older little one to the newer little one should be pretty easy for you if dealt with maturely.
Tips you can follow to prepare your older child for the younger sibling
Below are a few points that might act as a guidance to you on how to explain your child who the new baby is, what petty adjustments your child has to make and how to deal with the newest member of the family.
1. Tell your child about a New Baby Arrival
Yes, that might sound a little bit of a mature discussion, but trust me, children these days are understanding and accommodating beyond your imagination. Of course, you cannot explain your child on biological terms but frame a story on how there is a little living doll inside your tummy and how your child should take care of that doll and wait for it to come out. WHEN? The question might arise in the child’s mind. Giving the date will obviously do no good, so just tell the season or the near festival of your baby’s arrival. This way the child will relate more.
Also, when the child will know that it is just another doll waiting to come out, you might hear instructions like “Mamma, the doll needs water…” or “the doll needs food…”. This is an added bonus to your health.
2. Participation in the Baby’s Arrival
This is pretty simple and also a fun activity for your kid. Tell your child that a big doll house has to be made for the new doll yet to come and take the kid out for your new-born’s shopping. Let your child decide on the colours and patterns of the bed linen, the blanket, the cot, towels, baby clothes, feeding accessories, room decoration everything. This way, your child will feel the attachment growing.
3. Stop Assuming the Unnecessary
STOP WORRYING! What your child thinks and what you feel that your child may be thinking, might be on two different poles. You will wonder if the older child will be able to accommodate the new sibling but not the contrary, your child might be waiting to cuddle and play with the new toy, namely the baby. A child usually has a mixed bag of feelings, though not negative at all times.
4. Pre-Natal Check-ups
This might or might not work, although this option is never to be ruled out. Take your child whenever you are visiting for ultrasounds. It usually helps when your child will see the tiny being on screen or hear its heartbeat. Love and acceptance will arise out of curiosity. Visit Zoylo to book an ultrasound test online.
5. Give Sibling Education
This is very important. Your child has played with dolls, poked its eye out, tore its hair, broken its limbs; but explaining your child not to do that with the new baby might be a task. Asking your child not to come close to the baby when you are not around might be disheartening and jealousy might arise, so it is better to teach him/her about how to handle a real baby. Always be close enough to supervise.
6. Explain Baby Actions
Babies cry a lot, eat a lot and need a lot of attention; these are some points you have to explain to your older child while the baby is on its way.
7. Give Equal Attention
What parents fear the most, is that they might not be able to give the much-needed attention to the older child once the new-born arrives. This is an inevitable concern, but you can always divide attention. Though it might be a little taxing on the mother’s health, but with a little help from the father, it is not impossible. Ask the father to spend time with the older one when you’ll be tending to the new born’s needs. You can give your attention and cuddling to the older one once the little one falls asleep. Older one tends to get jealous with the fear of losing out that special spot in the family. Don’t let that feeling grow inside your older child.
8. Child’s Point of Reference
Often parents make a common mistake of referring to the new-born as “mamma’s new baby” or “papa’s new baby”. Instead, call the yet-to-come or the newborn as “your little brother/sister”. That inculcates a sense of belonging to your older child. Your words or way of explaining your older child should never give a feeling that the newborn exclusively belongs to the mother or father. The older child will feel that the sibling is a parent-snatching monster. You don’t want that to happen.
Continue your role with the Elder Child
If your older child is a school-going one, it might get a little difficult to explain the why’s and how’s of a newer sibling. In this case, matters should be handled with a lot of care and patience.
Continue the pampering sessions. Gifts, favourite ice-creams, park and game zone visits should not go off-limit. The father should take care of these. Tell your older child that he/she is at a greater advantage. Being the “big brother/sister”, eating out, playing with friends, going to school and having an independent world are a few things that the new born will not be able to enjoy until many years. Cuddle and give your child attention with studies and projects as and when possible. Don’t deprive them of these parental responsibilities. Praise the older child whenever he/she acts lovingly or fulfils a responsibility towards the little one. The shift of attention might be a little unpleasing for the older sibling but with time and undivided attention from parents and relatives, they will feel a sense of love and responsibility towards the new born.