One day while playing with baby Celine, I tried to see how she will react if ever I cuddle another baby. This is to prepare her for her coming sibling. I was cuddling the doll and she grabbed it from me, bitten it and threw it away. I see, she’s jealous with the doll, what more if her little sibling has arrived. She will feel that the little baby will get her Mommy and Daddy’s attention from her. I have been with that same situation before with my siblings and I know how hard it is to have sibling rivalry. It bothered me that I searched thru the internet for tips on how to prepare our only baby child for the coming of a sibling.
I merged the tips I had read online and repost them here to remind me how to prepare myself, my hubby, and my first baby for the coming new baby:
- Go through his own baby pictures with him and tell him how excited you were when he was born. This will be fun for him and remind him how special he is to you. It will also help him to prepare for what a newborn looks like.
- If your child wants to know why you want another baby, tell him as honestly as you can. But don't claim that you're doing it for your child's sake—so that he'll have someone to play with, for instance. In the first place, your child probably doesn't want what you're offering. He'd rather make friends and arrange playdates. In the second place, it's misleading, because your baby won't be able to do anything even approaching play with your child for many months after the birth. And in the final analysis, it's probably a lie. Though you certainly considered your child's welfare in choosing to have another baby, it probably wasn't the decisive factor. In the end you made your decision for your own reasons.
- In talking about the coming baby, try to give your child a sense of ownership. From the beginning of your discussions, refer to the new baby as "your brother" or "your sister" or "your brother or sister."
- Let your child know too that this helplessness will not last forever. It may help to begin telling him stories about things—especially funny things—that he did when he was "just a baby." Try to bring alive his own infancy for him. Pull out the photo albums and show him pictures of his first year. Get out the crib a little early and remind your child that he used to sleep there when he was little, but that now it's for the new baby.
- Encourage your child to express any feelings he has about the new baby—including anxiety and even outright anger—even before the baby arrives. By giving your child permission to voice the unpleasant feelings he has about the baby, you may help him to "make room" for warmer feelings (excitement, pride, and so on), too.
- Before the new baby is born, buy a doll (or human-looking toy if you don’t like dolls) for your first child. Call the doll “little sister” or “little brother” and explain to your child that soon a little sister or little brother will be arriving, and that he can use the doll to practice how he will play with the baby or help take care of the baby once it arrives. This gets him used to the idea of having a little bro/sis around, and provides an opportunity to start teaching him that he has to be gentle with the little baby.
- Around the time you (meaning, your wife) are expecting to give birth, get a gift for your first child that is “from the baby.” This will help your first child to feel more like the baby is her friend. Lets face it, most children are around the age of 1-4 when their younger sibling is born. At that age, right or wrong, kids love getting new toys and tend to like the people who give them the toys. So, a gift from the baby will increase the chances that your first child will take kindly to the baby. Keep reinforcing the fact that the gift is from the baby. This gift is also helpful because if it is really something your child enjoys, it gives him something to do while you are looking after the baby. We got our son a marble run from our newborn daughter, and he still loves playing with it.
- Get some books about being a big brother or big sister and read them to your first child. This one is kind of a no-brainer. It reinforces all the usual ideas about being an older sibling, being proud about it, looking after the baby and being gentle with it, etc etc.
- Get a T-shirt that says “Big Brother” or “Big Sister” on it (not for you, for your child – if you are interested in T-shirts for you, check here
). This will help to make your child proud of the fact that he/she is a big brother/sister. It can also help him/her to get into the role a bit more. It will also give you a chance to wash your child’s other favorite t-shirt.
- When your newborn arrives, take time to reinforce your love for your first child. This can be a challenge, because a newborn is so time consuming, but it is the most important thing you can do. Do your best to spend some good quality one-on-one time with your first child every day.