Having a baby is exciting, especially when it is well planned and expected. The hearts of the parents are filled with joy and they want to share their good news with one and all. Frantic phone calls are made to the families of both parents and to all near and dear.
Many times, in this excitement, parents forget that a sibling is listening to all conversations and may have an unasked question. So it will be extremely wise to first talk to your child and tell him/her that there is going to be an addition to the family, and someone for him/her to love.
The information must be given and reinforced so that he/she does not feel threatened. It would be helpful to make the child feel that he/she is part and parcel of everything that is happening.
Make the child feel that there is a vital part for him/her to play. There will be many things for him/her to do, like getting you diapers, helping to powder the baby, distract the baby when crying, sing lullabies for the new born and many more things.
More than anything assure the children of your love, which will not diminish at all. They would be as special as they always were. Most siblings will be wrought with jealousy at the thought of someone sharing their parents.
Alleviate their fears. Do not deny that you will love the next child. Also, prepare the child to accept that there will be many times when he/she will have to attend to the baby.
Explain that the little ones cannot talk or express how they feel and when they cry they will have to be fed, changed or cuddled. Sometimes the baby could have colic.
Since they were in the womb for 9 months they would be used to being secure and hence, would need to be held, cuddled, and loved. Explain that babies cry for many things – when they are hungry which is very often, when they are wet, they would need a diaper change, or if they need to be burped.
If the temperature is not right, they could be irritable. Hence, the sibling can let you know if you are otherwise busy if the baby cries. Instill in the siblings that there is an onus on them for the upbringing of the newborn.
A good idea is to let the sibling help you to buy little things for the newborn. You could also buy the sibling small gifts from the newborn. Many times people who come to visit ignore the sibling and fawn over the newborn.
It would be so helpful, if visitors brought a little gift for the sibling, and spent some time talking to the sibling. Everyone makes a mad rush for the newborn, and the sibling begins to dislike the attention that was their till then being bestowed on the newborn.
Feelings of rivalry could surface. The key is to make him/her feel the whole business of the newborn coming into the world, is partly his/her responsibility too. This could have positive effects.