You are pregnant. And you are ecstatic. You have been wanting to add to your family for quite some time now, and finally your dreams are coming true. Of course, you expect that the rest of your family will be just as excited as you are. But what happens when they are not? And what happens when your little ones don’t particularly want to be big brothers or sisters?
For a mom, hearing your 5-year-old exclaim, “I don’t want another baby” can be heartbreaking. The good news is that there are some things you can do to help them adjust. Here are some 5 tips to help siblings adjust to pregnancy.
1. Use good judgment and timing when you announce the news. If your children are very young, you may want to warm them up to the idea before you tell them that you are pregnant. Point out other people you know that have younger siblings or a baby in the family. This way, they can begin to mentally prepare before they are just bombarded with the news. If they have questions or concerns, then make sure you address them as they come up. Remember EVERY concern your child has is one that is important to them.
2. As a mother, don’t be offended by a young child’s kneejerk reaction. Remember, they didn’t choose to have a sibling – YOU DID. And although they will warm up to the idea, it is important to allow them to go through their own feelings on the matter. They may start out being anger, or acting out towards you for a few weeks, which is normal. Although you shouldn’t allow them to be disrespectful, you do need to allow them to own their own feelings. And even if you don’t agree with their feelings, make sure that you validate them and try to understand things from their point of view.
3. Enroll them in a sibling class, especially near your third trimester. This will help them make friends with other kids their age who are also expecting a sibling, and empower them to be in a position to help you. When they realize that they will be the metaphorical ‘big man on campus,’ they may warm up to the idea of having a younger sibling.
4. Don’t leave them out of the decision making. No, you don’t have to let your 3-year-old name your new baby, but it is a good idea to ask their opinions on things. Get their input on how to decorate the nursery, let them pick out the coming home outfit for the baby, and make sure that they have a voice in things. This helps them to regain some control, and also reminds them that you value their feelings and opinions.
5. Last but not least, make sure that extended family and friends make a BIG deal of the older sibling when delivery day comes. The baby won’t remember the gifts or the people that come to visit, but the older brother and sister WILL! Speak with family members and make sure that they don’t let the excitement of a new baby make the older siblings feel unnoticed.
Obviously, you also want to remind your children that no matter what, and no matter how many kids you have, you will always love them the same. This isn’t something that can be said enough times! Just keep reminding them – hug them and tell them how much you love them every chance you get. When the baby comes, things may be askew for a few weeks or months as your new family adjusts, but in the end, everything will work out for the best!
Written By Stef, Mom of 4 @Momspirational
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.