Prepping Your Little One for the Arrival of a Sibling

November 03, 2023

Use These Tips To Ease Your Firstborn into Their New Role as Big Brother or Sister

Growing your family is exciting, especially when you get to watch your firstborn become a big brother or sister to a new baby. While preparing for the arrival of a second child may be a time of joy, it can also spur feelings of anxiety and uncertainty in older siblings. Use these tips to support your firstborn as you prepare for change as a family.

Decide How/When You Want To Tell Your Firstborn

While there are many ways to let your firstborn know they’re going to become an older sibling, how and when you tell them will largely depend on their age. Generally speaking, telling them earlier rather than later can help alleviate their anxiety about the new addition. Picture books are a great resource to start the conversation, as is relating your due date to a familiar event, such as a holiday or birthday.

Be Realistic About the New Baby

It’s great to name all the fun things about becoming an older sibling, but it’s also important to communicate to your child, in an age-appropriate way, that babies are challenging, and things will be different. You can even use this moment to show your child how to hold and support a baby using a play doll. Reassure your child that, though the baby will need your help, you’ll still be making time to spend with them.

Support Your Child Through Their Reaction

Children receive news differently and your child’s reaction could range from happiness and excitement to upset and anger. No matter your child’s reaction, know it’s normal. The adjustment period may be difficult and some children start testing limits or revert to baby talk. Understand the feelings motivating your child’s behavior and encourage them to express those feelings in an appropriate way.

Spend Some 1:1 Time with Your Firstborn

Reassuring your firstborn of your love is one of the most important things you can do while they adjust to the idea of having a sibling. Set aside some time to establish a routine with them that you can start before the arrival of the new baby and continue afterwards. This could be a few minutes of playtime or reading. Knowing that you’ve blocked off specific time for them can help your older child cope with change.

As you embark on the journey of expanding your family, remember that the work you do to prepare your child for their sibling now is a worthwhile investment in their future. Though adjusting to a new normal may prove challenging at first, the adjustment will happen and you’ll soon be celebrating becoming a parent of two.