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Helping Your Child Prepare for a New Sibling

When you find that you are pregnant and will be adding another member to your family, it can be challenging to incorporate the needs of your existing children into the pregnancy process. With some foresight and understanding, however, you can make this a time that strengthens your bonds with every member of the family. Having a new brother or sister can be exciting and fun with some ideas here on how to approach the subject with care.

Knowing when and how to tell your child about the impending addition to the family is a very personal thing. Experts dole out all kinds of advice about how to approach this important time, but the truth is that only you know your child well enough to make this decision. The main thing to keep in mind is that a child will feel more connected and included if they are a part of the pregnancy, rather than having it sprung on them. Generally, you will want to tell them before you start showing and before any other people tell them first. The child needs to feel special enough to be a part of the “secret” and to be part of the announcement to the world-at-large.

You know already how exhausting it can be to raise a young child, so you may be overwhelmed with the thought of doing the same level of parenting while you are also pregnant. This time around, you will have less time to pamper yourself while caring for the needs of someone else. However, you will also have a little helper this time around. Even if they are still quite young, every child can do things to help out. In fact, they will feel proud and included if they have their own responsibilities that lead to the coming birth of their sibling.

Do not neglect to get help when you need it. There will inevitably be things that your child is accustomed to having you do for them that you may be unable to perform, particularly during the final trimester. Explain this to your child well before it gets to that point, and enlist their help and sympathy. Use this time to make them more self-sufficient. However, they are still children and will still need help. Ask friends and family to pitch in and to volunteer to take them on outings or to activities. This can help strengthen bonds between relatives and give you a much needed break. Always keep phone numbers for neighbors close at hand and ask them for help with even small things if you need it. You will likely find that they are happy to help.

Talk to your child often about what life will be like with a new baby in the house. Make sure they understand the changes that will occur and prepare them to make sacrifices. This can be done in a positive way and can actually even lead to a sense of pride for the child who knows that he or she is an important figure in the baby’s life.

These simple things can make a big difference in the harmony between siblings from the earliest moments. Use the ideas here to make your own plan for introducing your child to the growing family, then relax and let the process evolve naturally and happily.

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