Baby / Child

How to Prepare Children to Become Older Siblings

From excited to angry to downright indifferent, your firstborn may take the news that they will be a sibling in a variety of ways. Here is how you can prepare them for the change. 

If your child is older and already used to being the center of attention, they may either relish the fact that they will have a younger child in the family now or they might feel that the newcomer will steal their thunder. When it’s time to tell them the good news, be upbeat but try to keep the focus on them. Instead of saying, “I’m having a baby,” try saying, “You’re going to be a big brother/sister!” 

Younger children will often be confused by such an announcement. You can easily explain that you will be bringing them home a baby from the hospital, and they will be living with you from now on. 

There may be some complaints if your child is not thrilled with the idea of a crying infant in the house, but if you get your child invested, they may just get on board with the idea. Explain to your child that now that they are older and a big girl or boy, you need their help to look after their new baby brother or sister. Kids usually enjoy feeling grown up so you can play on that to get them feeling a sense of responsibility for their new relationship. 

Remember to stay positive about changes that will come with the preparation and arrival of the new baby. Also, involve your firstborn in the preparations as much as possible; that way, they can feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when the baby arrives and gets settled in. 

To avoid resentment of the new baby, you may want to consider doing something special for your child as well. Don’t think of it as spoiling your child but treat it as a celebration for them becoming an older sibling. Do your best to ensure that others remember your firstborn when they come to visit as well so that your child does not feel like they are being forgotten in the excitement of the new child. 

When the baby arrives, introduce them to their sibling as soon as possible, preferably before anyone else in the family outside of your spouse. It’s important for your child to feel that they are in the inner circle. Remind your child that they are just as loved now as before this baby arrived, and now they will be able to teach this new baby everything they know and give them love too. 

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