Is Your Eldest Ready for a New Baby?
Preparing Your Older Child for a Sibling
Involve Your Child in the Preparations
To the extent appropriate, involving your child in the myriad tasks required to welcome home a new baby will make her feel important and connected to her new sibling. Ask for her input on colors for the nursery. Take her with you to pick out a special toy for the toy room or blanket for the crib. Smaller children can help select pacifier colors or bottle patterns. What’s important is that you involve your child in the process.
Another fun activity (which may be more trouble than it’s worth for a child under the age of three or four) is creating a belly cast. These papier-mâché kits, meant to be used toward the end of your pregnancy, allow you to cast your body’s shape from thighs to neck, creating a permanent mold commemorating this incredible time. Once the cast has dried, your child can help you paint or decorate it. Don’t worry—you don’t have to hang it front-and-center over the mantle. You don’t even have to keep it forever. If nothing else, it’s a fun family activity for a Friday night. Warning: the directions regarding applying copious amounts of Vaseline to the areas over which you’ll apply the papier-mâché strips should be followed to the letter. Otherwise, your child will also get a lesson in the pain caused by waxing yourself where you didn’t even know you grew hair.
Monsivaiz, whose children were six, four, and one when she became pregnant with her fourth child, found a special way to involve her six-year-old daughter. When she and her husband found out the gender of the baby, they wrote it on a card, sealed it in an envelope, and allowed Lauren to read it aloud to their family on Thanksgiving. “She was so excited to get to be the one who opened the envelope, and even more excited to finally be getting a sister,” remembers Krisi.
Krisi also gave each of her children their own disposable camera and small photo album so that they could take their own pictures of the baby and create their own memory books. “This helped them to feel connected to Avery, and it began the process of each child developing his or her own relationships with her.”
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