Prepping the baby of the family to become a new big brother or big sister can seem like a daunting task. While we never really know how well the child will make the transition to big sibling there are plenty of things we can do to help prepare them before it is time for them to start transitioning.
- Explain what will happen – While you might have already told your child that a new baby is on the way, giving them more information may help put their minds at ease and help the toddler has he or she prepares for baby. Let them know where they will be staying while mom is in the hospital, who will be with them and what types of things they will be doing. Giving them the tentative plan for that time can help them not to be as worried when the day finally comes and mommy is no longer by their side.
- Do a practice run – If your older child will be staying with a friend or relative while you are in the hospital, consider letting them spend the night there once or twice while you are pregnant. This will give you some extra time to rest and will make sure they are comfortable in the situation they will be in while you are in the hospital so there aren’t too many new things happening all at once.
- Learn new words – If you have a younger toddler it may be useful to work on some new words like “gentle” and “soft”. We realized that our 18 month old son had never heard these words before so we bought him a baby doll to give him some practice being gentle before baby arrived.
- Read books about the transition – While it may be difficult to sit down and have a heart-to-heart conversation with a toddler, they will usually sit still for a colorful storybook! There are lots of great children’s books on the topic of becoming a big sibling! Our personal favorites were: Hello Baby!, I’m a big brother (or I’m a big sister), and Arthur’s baby. We had several books and found more at the library but these four really stood out from all the rest. Another great resource is When Baby Becomes Big Sibling, it’s a book for moms about thriving through the transitions that come when adding a new baby to your family. It is full of tips and tricks for during pregnancy and after your baby is born to help you, your partner and your first child to transition well.
- Doctor Visits – If you have some one to help you at Doctor appointments, consider letting your older child come along for one of the ultrasounds. Seeing the baby on the screen can help make it more real to them that there really is a baby in mama’s tummy!
- Gifts – What kiddo doesn’t love a good gift! Having a little gift box for them the day baby is born can do wonders for their level of excitement for baby. While some parents do a gift exchange between the older sibling and the new baby others just prepare something special for the new big sibling. From scrubs to scrapbooks to stuffed animals, the choices are truly endless. You can also check out this post for 5 meaningful gift ideas for the new big sibling!
As you prepare for a season of finding creative ways to allow your preschooler or toddler to help with baby we hope this guide helps you in your journey! What has been your best way to help with the adjustment so far? We’d love to hear about it on our Facebook page!