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How to Prepare Your Children for Baby

by Alison Wood | March 28, 2013 12:00 AM
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The last few months of your life have been spent scurrying around to prenatal check-ups, Lamaze classes, baby clearance sales and baby showers, but wait! Something out of the corner of your eye catches your attention. Your four-year old daughter is standing with her arms crossed and staring a hole through you with piercing eyes. With quivering lips and a trembling voice, she says, "I don't want a baby."

Everything suddenly screeches to a halt. With all the excitement of preparing for a brand new bundle, you simply forgot how this could affect your daughter. But now, she is standing, venting her anxieties and frustration to you and you are totally unprepared. Where do you start?

Bring out the baby books.
Kids really enjoy quality time with their parents. They love to ask questions about their family history, ask about different pictures in the photo albums and most of all love hearing about their very own history. Take advantage of this desire and pull out your child's special book that holds the memories of her first word, first lock of hair and first step. Talk through the saved pictures and share special memories of what a special baby she was. Then explain that just like she brought joy to the family with her giggles and coos, the new baby will also bring happiness and joy with her arrival.

Ask for help.
Giving kids responsibilities around the home make them feel needed and appreciated. Ask your child to help you pick out the baby's layette, crib, nursery decor and any other special items. Also, tell her you will need lots of help when the baby comes with changing diapers, feeding and more. Suggest she practice feeding her baby doll and burping it. You can also show her the proper positions to hold the baby. When the baby is finally home, you can ask your child to bring you a diaper or pick out a clean change of clothes for the little one. Small tasks will help the child connect with the new baby as well as feel like she has an important part in the baby's life.

Visit new babies.
Got a friend or relative that has a new bambino? Ask if you can come over and visit for a few minutes. Better yet, offer to baby-sit to give the new mom a well-deserved break as well as to prepare your child for life with a newborn. Chances are just a little time with that tiny one will incite happy anticipation of the upcoming baby in your child's heart. The new baby smell, the tiny feet and the soft skin bring a smile to even a young child's face!

Let her tag along.
Make the majority of your prenatal visits a family affair. Your child can hear the baby's heartbeat and see them measure your growing belly. You especially want your child to be present during the sonograms! The eyes do affect the heart!

Take a trip to the library.
Libraries are overflowing with books for kids about pregnancy, new babies and siblings. Scout out about 15 of them and let your child pick her favorite five or six. Sit on the couch, cuddle and read these together and discuss the pictures and any questions or concerns your child may have about the new baby.

Visit the hospital.
Plan a special trip to the hospital where you will be birthing the little one. Let your child play in the kid's area, have a special lunch together and then go visit the baby nursery and let her see all the new babies. Making the hospital a fun place can also aid your child in associating the birth of the baby with happy thoughts and memories.

As the big day approaches, reassure your child that she is still your special munckin. The more love, attention and time you spend with your child the better chance you have at innovating a healthy relationship between the new baby and the older sibling. Keep loving, answering questions and involving your child in activities associated with the birth of your baby to ensure a desired positive outcome.

Alison Wood is a stay-at-home mom of six and freelance writer and blogger. She enjoys raising her six children and desires to share her experiences to help other mothers.

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