Ready for a sibling?
Adding a new brother or sister is a major event. Is your older child prepared?
Most siblings feel threatened by the arrival of a new brother or sister. They may be concerned about whether you will still love them as much, whether you will have time to spend with them and what this will mean for the family.
Ease the way
- Open communication: As soon as you find out that you are pregnant, discuss it with your child. Explain how a new brother or sister will affect the family and give your child the opportunity to ask questions and express concerns. If they seem uninterested, don’t force the issue, there’s plenty of time for them to get used to the idea.
- Toddlers may forget they ever had the conversation with you, so you’ll need to bring up the subject gently from time to time.
- Explain how the baby develops and why your stomach and breasts are getting bigger. Share a good book with illustrations of foetal development.
- Reassure your child constantly that you love him or her.
- Involve your child in activities such as choosing furniture, equipment and baby clothes.
- Take your child with you when you go for ante-natal check-ups.
- Encourage your child to listen to the heartbeat or feel the baby kicking.
- Help your child to get used to babies by spending time with people who have babies.
- Read books that prepare children for the arrival of a sibling.
- Prepare your child for the time when you are in hospital. Make sure your child is familiar with the person who will be taking care of him or her. This time should be as stress-free as possible.
- Ask your child to help you pack your hospital bag.
- Ask friends and family to remember to fuss over the older child first when they visit – many people tend to focus on the pregnancy and then the baby, and ignore the sibling.