When you’re introducing a new member into your family, there can be a lot of emotions to consider. Whilst initially there’s excitement, if you already have little members there (i.e. the ones who are expecting you to bring home their new baby brother or sister), it can be a confusing time for them. If they don’t have any previous experience with having to share their parents, either with an older sibling or through jobs like childminding, it can be a hard time. Preparing them for what’s to come isn’t something that you can plan in advance; you don’t know how they’re going to react or how difficult or easy things are going to be.
Make Time for Them
Having two or more kids isn’t easy. The splitting up of time to cater for the needs of each one can be a struggle, especially if you’re breastfeeding so don’t necessarily have the hands, body or time free that you would usually give up to them. Handing the baby over to a relative or close friend for half an hour will give you plenty of time to catch up with them. Forget the “nap while they’re napping” rule – if you have the time spare while your youngest is in the land of nod, give it up to your other children. They’ll appreciate it and while you won’t necessarily feel like you’re superwoman, in their eyes you totally are.
Hype Up the Event
Making a big deal out of what’s to come and involving them in it will give them some clarity as to what’s happening. There are some great ideas for sisters-to-be and new big brothers too, such as special shirts that you can get for them to really hone on in what’s to come. It can be a great talking point with people that you may not even know. If, for example, you are in a store doing your weekly shop and someone points out what’s on their shirt, it can make them feel extra special and like they have a sense of duty and responsibility to follow.
Make Them Feel Special
The one worry that most new parents of two children have is how much time and energy they can dedicate to their first-born. Try and make things special during the time that you do spend with them. Go on little dates or try and bring something special into the house that you can only do when the baby is sleeping or otherwise occupied, such as crafts or playdoh. Make sure that you let them know that it’s only theirs and can only be used on your set times and isn’t to be shared with their new sibling. It’s not that you don’t want to promote the sharing and the bond between them, as this is vitally important – it’s just that they also need to know that they’re an individual, have their own needs and wants just like the new addition and also need to be treated like the fantastic little person they are.