Whether you're welcoming your child's first sibling or expanding your family even further, getting your existing child ready for this life-altering shift is critical. However, it doesn't have to be a stressful process.
Wait a While Before Telling Your Child About the Baby
Typically, it's best to wait until your pregnancy is well underway before discussing it with your child. Children have a skewed perception of time, and waiting too long might lead to impatience or anxiety. You know your child best and do it when you feel comfortable. A key question here is, "When is the best time to break the news to your child?"
A few months prior to your due date is generally a good time, when you start to show can also be a good time as they are quick to notice the changes too.
Be Honest & Involve Your Child in Planning for the Baby
Preparing for a new sibling is a great way to involve and support your child in the changes that will be happening, as well as smooth the transition process when the baby arrives.
Involve your child in the baby's preparations. Set an extra place at the dinner table or let them choose toys for the baby. The question is, "Does this help?". Yes, this can help instil a sense of ownership and responsibility. Along the line, your child might ask questions about the baby. It's natural and healthy. Answer their queries honestly and age-appropriately.
Time Major Changes in Your Child’s Routine
Attempting to potty train your child a few weeks before your due date can add to his or her stress level. The best time to introduce major changes is either well before or several months after the baby arrives. "Why is this so?", you might ask. Because children need a sense of security during transition periods, and maintaining their routine can help provide that.
Expect Your Child to Regress a Little
It's natural for your child to regress a bit when a new sibling arrives. They may exhibit earlier developmental phases as a way of seeking attention.
"How should I deal with regressive behaviour?"
One effective way is by offering comfort, understanding, and reminding your child about their role as an older sibling.
With thoughtfulness, patience, and love, you can make the transition smoother for your firstborn as they adjust to the idea of having a new sibling.