Any experienced mom will tell you that having a is a whole different ballgame than it was the first time around. The first time, you had to take care of yourself, but this time there’s one more child in the picture. One of your key responsibilities while preparing for your second baby will be to make sure your firstborn is adjusting well to the changes that are about to take place. The simplest way to do this is by involving him/her in the whole journey of welcoming your second child. Here are a few ways to do it.
Don’t wait until the last trimester or until the baby has arrived to let your kid in on what’s happening. Children, even as young as two years, are very perceptive and can immediately sense a change in the environment. Leaving them to make sense of things on their own will only add to their confusion. Instead, tell your firstborn about the new baby. Tell them that they’re going to have a baby sister or brother whom they will love, play with and protect. Get them excited by sharing the positive changes. At the same time though, don’t make the second baby the only focus of your communication with your firstborn.
Including your first child in things such as picking the crib, clothes, toys, or even helping you out with day to day things will make them feel involved and get them all excited for their sibling!
Help your first child prepare for the new arrival in his own little way. One fun way to do it is by encouraging them to make their own little gift for the baby sibling. This could be anything from a toy to a scrapbook or origami. It gives your first kid something to look forward to and also keeps them busy.
Give your child a little project of their own that not only keeps them occupied but also nurtures their ability to care for and love something, such as a doll or even a pet. Helping them experience this process of caring and nurture someone or something else will make it easier for them to identify with what you’re doing.
Simple things such as getting them a new “big kid” chair at the dining table, teaching them how to hold the baby and encouraging them to take on small responsibilities towards the baby will work wonders. Let your child know that being an older brother or sister is kind of a big deal and you think they would be amazing at it.
All said and done, once in a while do take the time out and away from preparing for the second baby. Do something that involves just the two of you. The arrival of the second child can put your first child in a spot of insecurity. The whole notion of having to share their parents with someone else can overwhelm them and cause them to act out. By spending some precious time together, you are reinforcing and reassuring them that the bond you two share can never change.
This is a wonderful time for you, and it can be made even more magical by letting your firstborn be a part of your journey. Don’t look at it as a task or something worrisome, instead consider this time to strengthen your relationship with them.