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6 Ways to Prepare Your Children for Their New Sibling

YourTango.com
Parenting
May 31, 2012

Older siblings often have trouble accepting the arrival of a new baby because your new little bundle knocks the little prince or princess off of his or her throne. Husbands can identify with those feeling as well. When their first baby was born, they had to adjust to no longer being number one in their wives' lives. Fortunately, they eventually got over it, and so will your older child. Here are some handy tips to help your older child overcome the jolt of losing her position as your littlest darling.

1. Start showing excitement early in your pregnancy ... not only about the baby, but about your first child becoming a big brother or sister, too. Keep your child in focus as you talk about the baby so he or she sees a benefit to the new family member arriving. If you list, over time, all the terrific benefits of being a big brother or sister, for instance someone to play with, your child will focus less on what he or she will be giving up. Read More: Should Women Be Barefoot, Pregnant & In The Kitchen?

2. Bring a photo of your older child to the hospital. Imagine the excitement your child going to the hospital to see Mom and the new baby. Imagine his or her astonishment upon peering through the glass into the nursery at having you say, "That one! The one with your picture in his little crib! He needed his big brother's photo to learn who you are!" Therefore, pack a photo of the older sibling(s) in your hospital bag (along with some tape), and have dad or a nurse simply tape it inside the baby's hospital bassinet.

3. Give your older child a gift from the newborn baby. During all the fuss in the hospital room when mom and the newborn baby are getting all the attention, announce that now it's your older child's special time. It is difficult to be jealous of a gift giver and the gift can be something as simple as a 99-cent trinket. Don't get elaborate; just wrap something simple and include it in your hospital bag. Read More: Does Your Baby's Father Have Postpartum?

4. Your older child can help blow out the candles for the baby's birthday. When mom's dinner arrives, it will include some kind of desert. Whether it's cake or not, reach into that pre-packed hospital bag for a birthday candle. Make a big production of lighting it to celebrate the baby's birthday and ask your older child to help blow out the candles. Children love ritual, and usually they only get to blow out birthday candles once a year.

5. Give your older child a new baby of their own. This idea may need modification or simply skipped for a son depending on the family. Does your daughter enjoy dolls? How included might she feel if, when Mommy is wheeled out of the hospital holding her brand new baby, your daughter also has a brand-new baby doll all her own to carefully carry down to the car? This idea often gets a lot of mileage that lasts days after arriving home. Read More: Ways To Encourage Free Play With Your Baby & Toddler

6. Invite close visitors to include the sibling in small gifts. Finally, let your parents, family, and close friends know that you are making efforts to reduce your older child's shock and jealousy. Ask them to include your older child, by recognizing his or her new big sibling status when they first come to visit the new baby. If they will be bringing a gift for the baby, you might consider asking them to include small gift for the older sibling too. The older sibling will also enjoy opening the baby's gift because, after all, the baby needs a big brother or sister to help open gifts until he or she gets bigger!

These and other ideas can go a long way to prevent hurt feelings and jealousy when a new baby comes to share mom and dad. When you can make it a family event and not all about the baby, your family will all be able to make the changes and adjustments more easily.

Written by Kevin Bergen for YourTango.com.

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