I broke my pregnancy news to my daughter after a month of conceiving once I was sure that it was a healthy pregnancy.
The initial reaction was , ’Really?’ . Then later she was like ‘OK’ when I told her it’s a secret which you don’t have to tell anyone unless mummas tummy comes out. She nodded her head without asking any questions for which frankly I wasn’t prepared. Gradually as we started talking openly about it she understood the fact that now she will have someone to play with, her own sibling! She was adamant for a sister only. She would get angry if anyone would wish a brother for her. So we decided not to discuss the gender of the baby as we wanted a healthy offspring.
It wasn’t challenging to get her in the groove of welcoming a new baby in the house. She was equally excited. I would say she was more eager than us.
So how exactly parents can ready their kids mentally to welcome a new member home?
-Some kids show a drawback attitude when they come to know they have to share their parents with a brother or a sister. And some show a lot of excitement which eventually becomes difficult to handle as a parent. Our role here is a tricky one as we need to draw a line to bring about stability in the anxiety the kid shows.
-If your child is loving, caring and has a sharing nature, things will be very informal. You don’t have to do much and just go with the flow. However, be prepared for over cuddling and motherly touch that comes automatically which will go in a month when the enthusiasm slows down. This is because they know that baby is here to stay with us!
– Avoid discussing the gender of the baby. Children get confused and feel disheartened if it’s the other way round. Tell them that it is important to have a healthy sibling and a company which they are going to get for life. Also, there might be spurt of questions which if left unanswered leads to all sorts of imagination at a tender age. It’s better to be a little manipulative here.
– Make them talk to the baby and caress your bump. It creates a great bond from day one.
– Spending more time with your elder one will lighten the situation. Go out for movies,park, read books, play games and cuddle more. Initial few months are very tough as a parent since the entire focus shifts on the new baby.
-The elder one will do many things for grabbing your attention. Rather than reminding them of their age, give the desired consideration and praise them for being good & responsible.
-Make prior arrangements for sleeping. Suddenly switching beds or rooms of your elder one will upset her routine. Let them learn things slowly. If you are getting them toilet trained don’t be in a hurry. At this point the elder one might not be interested to learn anything new that will take away your focus from her.
-If your child is old enough, take her for doctors’ visits. Allow her to visit you in the hospital after delivery. Make the child aware that while you are in hospital, daddy/granny will take care of her and very soon she can be with you.
-Switch roles as parents. One of you be with the elder one so that they don’t feel neglected. Make arrangements to leave the baby and spend time outdoors with your elder one. They are the ones who will feel left out and not even tell you. Let this situation not arrive. I still remember a day before my unplanned delivery I was out with my daughter for some toy shopping and dinner as I knew any time I can go for delivery as I had erratic pains. Take help of family members, nannies, neighbors and friends so that you can focus on both.
– Not over pampering but a little bit of agreeing to their demands won’t harm. Express your love more. Teach them to love their sibling. Explain that your love will be equal for both.
– Listening, talking, and asking more questions about how they were at school and what they learnt new. Helping them in their school work and being in touch with their extra activities, makes them very positive.
– Telling them that they are now going to become big sister/brother every time will petrify them of becoming responsible. Let them not get matured so soon before time.
As second time parents we get few months adjustment period before and after the baby, till the time the second one starts crawling. Once the younger one starts reacting and playing, both the kids will sweep you off with their interactions. You will enjoy watching them run, jump, fight and playing together!