The following guest post is written by Nancy Parker, a former professional nanny. Nancy loves to write about wide range of subjects such as health, parenting, child care, and babysitting, full time nanny tips etc. You can reach her at nancy.parker015 @ gmail.com.
Your firstborn, especially when he or she is in the toddler years, is going to have a hard time adjusting, not only to not being the only child in the family, but also not being the baby anymore.
Before your second child makes his or her grand entrance you’re going to need to do some prep work with your oldest. You can help ease him or her into having a new brother or sister using the following tactics:
1. Include your firstborn throughout the pregnancy Let your firstborn be actively engaged throughout your pregnancy. Helping to pick out a name for the new brother or sister, being given the opportunity to offer advice on different things, and feeling the baby kicking and moving all help to make to your firstborn fully aware that there is going to be a new baby in the house in the coming months.
2. Have your child practice with a doll – Buy a baby doll and let your firstborn practice holding the doll so that he or she knows the proper way to do so. Teaching everything that can and can’t be done with the baby ahead of time makes the transition from pretend baby to real one easier.
3. Make special dates for one-on-one time – Your firstborn is not used to sharing you and your spouse and adding another person that demands your attention is going to be a difficult concept to grasp. Make special dates with just you or your spouse and your oldest child so that he or she still feels special and is reassured that spending alone time with you both is still possible.
4. Don’t overdo the excitement factor – One mistake that a lot of parents make is over doing the excitement factor of having a new baby in the household. By doing this, your oldest child is going to be let down when he or she realizes that the new baby is only going to be able to sleep, eat, and cry most of the time and will not be a new playmate right away. Instead be honest with your oldest so that he or she knows what to realistically expect.
5. Let your firstborn help you – As your own personal helper, your firstborn will still feel important. He or she can pick out what the baby is going to wear some days, help you bottle feed, grab burp rags, etc. for you.
The initial shock of having a new baby in the household is going to be a big hurdle for your oldest to overcome.
Expect feelings of resentment and jealousy and that your oldest may resort back to habits previously grown out of. These are all coping mechanisms, and soon enough they will pass. By being honest and taking time to make him or her feel important you can lessen the shock and help your oldest child transition to the role of big brother or sister.