Your whole routine is about to change with the arrival of your new baby, but this transition can worry your child when they don't understand what this change could mean for them.
Help your child welcome the new baby before and after the birth with these 10 adorable ways:
1. Let your child help pick out a "coming home" outfit
Being included in preparing for the baby's arrival can help your child feel better about this huge change in their life. Make a fun family activity out of it; pick out the baby's first outfit together and then go out for a treat.
Let your child help you pick out a paint color, and if they're old enough, they can even help paint. Take them along with you to the store to pick out a few toys and decorations for the baby's room.
3. Take your child to a doctor's appointment
Bring your child along to one of your appointments. Let them hear the baby's heartbeat and see their tiny feet and toes on the ultrasound.
4. Read books about babies
Read age-appropriate books about babies to help your child understand and even get excited about their new sibling's arrival.
5. Go through your child's baby pictures
Reminisce on happy memories from when your child was a baby. Show them pictures of the day they were born, their messy face at mealtime and fun trips you took together. Seeing themselves as a baby can help them get excited for their new brother or sister.
6. Show your child you'll always be there for them
Your child might be worried that you won't spend time with them after the baby comes. This seems like a silly thought, but it's a real fear for some children. Continue to spend time with your child and make them a priority even with the bustle of preparing for the new baby.
7. Answer your child's questions along the way
Seeing mommy pregnant or nursing might bring up questions. Where did the baby come from? When will the baby get here? What is the baby doing under the blanket? Answer their questions based on their age. For example, for a curious three year old, a simple answer like "the baby grows inside mommy until they are ready" is fine. You can help them understand when the baby is coming by giving time frames they will understand such as "in the summer" or "around Christmas time."
8. Give your child special tasks
Help your child adjust to being the big brother or big sister by giving them simple jobs. Ask them to bring you a clean diaper or to gently pat the baby's back. Helping out can encourage them to bond with their new sibling.
Let your child express their feelings and be patient with them during this huge change. Your child is shifting into a new role- they aren't the baby of the family anymore. Listen to their fears and reassure them that even though a lot is changing, you will always love them no matter what.
10. Spend time with your child
A new baby brings a lot more responsibilities, but try to find time to spend with your older child. Go out for a fun activity with just the two of you. Your child will love having one-on-one time with mom or dad.
Adding a new member to the family is a busy and exciting time, but don't forget about your older child's needs. When you're there to help them welcome the new baby, you can help your child replace their worries with excitement.
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