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Preparing Siblings for the New Baby


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baby laying downThere is really no way to prepare a sibling for a new baby brother or sister. However, the child’s age, for example a preschooler vs. a toddler, makes a big difference in understanding what’s happening. A preschooler can be told of the basics of babies and what to expect. By no means does this prepare them for the jealousy they will inevitably feel. You can, however, do the following to help in the transition:

   -  Do not over react to your child’s misbehavior

Your toddler or preschooler will misbehave to get your attention. Expect it, accept it and ignore it. Giving him negative attention just reinforces the idea that bad behavior will get them what they want. This will wear off in time.

   -  Do give your toddler/preschooler one on one time

Try to spend some one on one time with the older sibling; a book before bedtime, color together, or make a weekly event of McDonald’s for breakfast on Sunday. Let them know they are still your baby too and special.

   -  Do let the older sibling help

Give the big brother or big sister jobs that they can do with pride. Kids love to help and feel "grown up." Then praise them for their help and cooperation. Be specific when giving praise. "Thank you for folding the diapers. That was a big help to Mummy."

   -  Do explain

Explain things to your child in simple terms he can understand. "The new baby is so little, he could fall out of a bed. He will use your old crib now."

Community Resources:

   -   Local hospitals may offer a sibling class for the big brother or sister to be.
   -   The local library has books geared to any age group to help prepare for a new baby.
   -   Visit a friend or relative with a new baby.
   -   Tour the hospital nursery with your child.
   -   Check with your church for a Mommy and Me group.
   -   Contact your town or city for local programs.

Remember that children are very adaptable. Your child will learn to accept his sibling in time. Like the many before us, the transition will happen.



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