The early days of being pregnant for the second time, I remember people asking me, what do you want? A boy or a girl? My main concern was, which would little one D get along with more? Would he be more jealous if it were a boy vs a girl or vice versa? Transitioning a toddler from being your one and only to ..”you’re a big brother/sister” can be difficult and/or naturally easy. Every child is different. I’m not sure if it was just luck, or if everything I did leading up to the birth and a month into her being here actually worked. He absolutely adores her. His transition and current status of being a big brother is working. He’s everything I wished for him to be towards his baby sister. Thank god!
Sibling Love: 5 Tips On Transitioning Your
First Child Into Being a Brother/Sister
I’m sharing the best tips and advice I either read about in baby forums or was told to try via friends and family. P.S I don’t consider myself some kind of baby/toddler expert. I’m constantly absorbing as much information I can on how to handle every stage of life for my LO’s. I also still believe a mothers instinct wins over any advice or tips. Here goes:
<Disclaimer: These tips may not work for everyone. Every child is unique and their personalities require less/more attention when it comes to preparing them for a sibling. A mother always knows best. And only YOU can determine what’s best for your child. Watch for cues from your child on what to do and say. Congratulations and good luck!>
- Have the talk. As soon as I started showing I was pregnant I had a talk with my LO (Little One). As a matter of fact, I had more than one or two talks. Finding the right moment, when your LO’s entire attention is focused on what you’re saying is the best time to have that talk. Even if it’s for a few seconds. They do retain that information. Especially if you’re having that talk more than once. Opportunities like, before/after reading a book to your LO. During a car ride. At the grocery store while shopping for your new baby. These are all great moments to have that talk. What does the talk sound like? What do I say? I start off with rubbing my belly and saying there’s a baby in here. Are you excited for the baby? And then I just ramble on about being a big brother, how much fun he’ll have when baby can play and how much he’ll love being a big brother. I would end my talk with the same belly motion and saying again, baby is inside here. Baby is coming! I believe repetition is key. To a certain extent of course.
- Ask questions. Little D is 2 years old. I’m always asking him questions. Allowing him to make decisions and so naturally I always asked, “what’s inside here?” (Pointing to my belly) Because of our talks he knew I was talking about the baby and he would reply “bay-beeee!” There were some days where he wouldn’t answer at all and just give me a weird look. I’d ask 3 more times and if still no answer. I’d try again in a few hours or the next day. Especially closer to my due date, i asked him like clockwork everyday during his bath time. Building his excitement for the baby’s arrival. Now that she’s here, my questions have changed to: “Is she cute?” “Do you love your baby sister?” “Do you want to give baby a kiss?”
- Our baby/Your baby. The first time Little D met Baby Z we got a present from her to him. A lot of my friends recommended this. I’m not sure if it worked and if he understood, but since so many recommended it, I had to try it. We got an elephant rocker and told him baby brought it for him. He smiled and played with it for awhile, and quickly lost interest in it. The excitement wasn’t there. Since I didn’t get the reaction I was looking for, whenever I took them both shopping with me, I’d get him something small and say this is from baby.
- See, see, no touch. I know babies are tough, but newborns to me, will always be fragile little humans. So naturally when my LO wants to hug or touch Baby Z, I get scared and my first reaction in the beginning was to say “No.” But I soon realized saying no isn’t the best approach. Something I learnt from his daycare teachers was to use the word “gentle” instead. Now whenever he comes close I say “gentle, gentle.” It sounds obvious right? But when you’re in the moment, sometimes the first word to say that comes to mind, especially if it’s no, doesn’t seem to feel wrong to say. But the word no, could lead to your child feeling angry, confused or jealous towards the new baby. Gentle on the other hand, welcomes your child to be around the baby but to not be rough.
- Let’s do this together. When Baby Z cries, my LO and I both look for solutions. “Does she want a toy?”, “Where’s her Tee Tee (pacifier)?” – He use to reach for her pacifier to use it and now because I’ve included him in giving it to her, he reaches for it to place in her mouth. Even when she needs a diaper change, I ask him if he wants to help. Sometimes while I’m nursing her, he’ll come and sit beside me, or if he doesn’t, I always ask him if he wants to come. To make him feel like, we’re in this together. As your child grows and changes, their needs and wants change, and so will their emotions towards everything around them. The best we can do is to engage, ask questions and ensure your child is always a part of everything. Now when anyone is around Baby Z, he’ll grab them and point at Baby Z and say, “aweee. So cute.” Moments like this make me feel like all that work to make that sibling bond strong is so worth it. What are your fondest memories with your siblings? Any tips for mama’s?