How do we prepare our daughter for her new sibling?
Preparing your child for a new baby is an exciting time. Learn from CareNectar expert Mirella Alexis how to guide your child through this new journey.
We are expecting our second baby, but don’t want our child to be surprised with the big change. We hope to prepare her as best as we can for her new sibling. What ideas do you have that can be helpful in preparing our daughter to be a good big sister while also ensuring that we’re making enough time to meet her needs?
First of all, congratulations! This is such thrilling news and an exciting time for you and your family. Make sure you cherish this time because before you know it, your second baby will be here.
Be open and honest. The most important thing to do is spend time with your little one and let her be an active participant in this new journey. Make sure to carve out some alone time for you and your toddler before your new baby arrives. Her life is going to change dramatically, and the space she knows as the only child in the home will soon have to be shared. Have an open and honest conversation with her using age-appropriate language to help her understand the changes that are taking place. This is likely to be an ongoing conversation, and be sure to continue this discussion even after your new baby is born.
Make her part of the journey. The new baby is not only a change for you and your partner, but for your daughter as well. Take her on the journey with you, and help create and encourage a bond before the baby arrives. Show her ultrasound pictures, let her feel the baby kick, and let her accompany you to your doctor’s appoints. Also, if you choose to do a baby registry or are working to decorate the new baby’s room, let her join you in that process. These all can help your little one get excited for her new sibling.
Promote patience and sharing. One of the biggest changes your child will face is related to patience and sharing. They will have to adjust to sharing their toys, their parents, and their home. They will also have to learn patience when your time is spent tending to the needs of the new baby. Encouraging these values for your child is a must. Also, try visiting a family member or a friend with a baby. Exposing your child to a baby can be a great learning experience to see how she will interact with the baby and demonstrate her sharing skills and patience.
Gift exchange. Try a gift exchange between your children. Have your daughter pick out something special for the baby, and let her share with the new baby once they’re born. In exchange, have a gift ready from the newborn baby to their older sibling to mark this exceptional life-changing event. This gift exchange can mark the unique bond from the beginning. Also, as birthdays roll around, it’s a nice idea to keep this tradition going.
Welcome help. Once the baby is born, your older child may want to help. Perhaps she can prepare diapers when you need them or help during bathtime. Or maybe selecting finding stores to read or songs to sing to the baby. Some young children may want their own doll as well that they can diaper, bathe, and clothe alongside you, which makes it more of a shared experience. But try to welcome help as it comes. It may make the tasks at hand a bit more challenging, but it will help the older sibling feel like they are a helpful member of the family.
Recommended readings. Additionally, reading some books with your daughter might be helpful in introducing her to the idea of becoming a big sibling. Several book recommendations are listed below.
- I Am a Big Brother, by Caroline Jayne Church
- Bobo And The New Baby, Rebecca Minhsuan Huang
- The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby, by Stan and Jan Berenstain
- The New Baby, by Mercer Mayer
- Waiting for Baby, by Rachel Fuller
Congratulations again on your growing family. With two children, we understand you have your hands full, and the CareNectar team is here to help with any other questions!
Meet The Expert
Mirella has been a family and childcare advocate for nearly two decades. With her bachelor’s degree in early childcare education, Mirella immediately started expanding her portfolio as a professional nanny, early childhood educator, and newborn care specialist. She later obtained her certification in child nutrition, positive discipline, and child abuse prevention. She expanded her professional reach more in 2016 by taking on the role of labor and postpartum doula. In 2020, Mirella became the Vice President of The Nanny Sitter Fund. She’s excited to be bringing her passion for childcare to the masses, making child welfare everyone’s responsibility. Learn more about her at MirellaAlexis.com