We will be welcoming a new addition to the family in the new year, and what better topic to discuss than how to help prepare an older sibling for a new babies arrival. As a mother to four, we have tried various ways to help our older children adapt to a new bundle over the years. Some things worked great, others not so much. In all honesty, I think it has more to do with your child's temperament overall and their age. Every child is different, so please, please, please don't stress if none of these tips work. Growing and adapting to new things can be stressful enough for adults, keep this in mind for your children as well :)
Don't pressure your older child to "love" baby immediately. Bringing in a new addition can be an uncertain time for your older ones. There will be lots of changes, and your child may not feel included in what's happening. Give your older children space and time to adapt.
Get your older child involved. To help with these uncertain feelings, let your older child pick out a toy for the new baby. Bring them when you're picking out baby items (diapers, clothes, etc). These simple tasks can show your older child that their opinion and concern for baby is important to you, which helps to solidify their understanding that you aren't replacing them.
Find books about new babies. Reading stories about how new babies act, what they wear, eat and so on will help your older child understand what to expect of their new sibling. Even books about baby animals is a great start. Talk about the size difference in a toddler, older child, parent, etc. There are so many wonderful books out there that can help explain what a new baby does.
Get them their own baby doll. You want to share how to nurture and be gentle to a little baby. Show them to be soft and quiet with their special little baby, and remember to tell them "good job" when they're holding their little doll/stuffy.
Share pictures of them as a baby! This one is great for both teaching your child what to expect from a new baby and for solidifying your bond with your older child. They can see how careful you were with them, how much you loved them as a baby, and they can see how important this baby is to you all.
Finally, as the days get busier with a new baby, remember to seek out time for you and the older child. I know first hand how hard this one can be, but it's so important. Anything from a full on date with dinner and a movie to a 5 minute walk outside helps remind your older child that they are just as important as your new bundle.
Do you have any other tips? Please leave your thoughts below!