Welcoming a new baby in the house is one of the most exciting events in the life of a family, or is not it? The expectant parents’ feelings about the new family member are quite different from those of their children.
Some children anticipate the arrival of the new baby with excitement and adapt well to their new brother or sister. For other children, adapting to a new sibling can be a traumatic event. As a parent, what can you do to help young children share the excitement of having their new brother or sister?
According to MidAtlantic OBGYN T. Berry Brazelton, MD in his book Touchpoints: The Essential Reference , “Learning to live with others in a family is one of the most important learning opportunities anyone can have.” Therefore, parents can use the situation of a new sibling to teach their children valuable lessons that may affect their current family as well as the child’s future family. Teaching them to enjoy, accept and be responsible to others is possibly one of the most valuable lessons children can learn.
The Key to Adaptation: Sufficient Preparation
Simple preparation, including teaching and support, can make the difference between positive memories and traumatic nightmares. Charles, a father of four, says, “We allow children to participate in the preparation and care of their new siblings.” Now, when they look at pictures or talk about the birth of children, they have many fun stories to share. Through these experiences to really care for other people. ”
It is important to remember that each child is unique; Therefore, one should always consider the child’s age, temperament and other developmental factors when determining the best approach.
Begin by preparing the children for the changes that will be presented when the new sibling arrives. The key is good communication. The child should hear the good news directly from their parents. Ana Maria, a 27-year-old mother, began to prepare her four-year-old daughter Alice by commenting to neighborhood children who had positive relationships with younger siblings. “Alicia used to be the only daughter, so she mistrusted what it would be like to have a new brother or sister. But when we started talking about her neighbor and friend Maria who had brothers and sisters, Alicia changed her mind and decided that a new baby in Reality could be fun to have around. ”
However, I remember that the power of suggestion must be used carefully, as it can quickly become reality in the minds of children: do not mention the child who might not please his new brother or sister. Instead, discuss the fun opportunities you will have as an older sibling.
Another important part of a child’s adjustment is to be sure of their own relationships before the baby arrives. These relationships could be with other family members or caregivers. Leaving your child alone with trusted family members or babysitters will help you observe that other people can take care of you in addition to Mom and Dad.
Although psychological and emotional preparation is vital, it is also important to allow children to participate in activities that specifically remind them of the imminent arrival of the baby. Here are some suggestions:
Let the child attend the preparation of the baby’s room. Children tend to be very territorial and often see the baby as an invasion of their space. Letting them participate in creating space for their new brother or sister gives them a sense of control and pride.
Go to a hospital before the birth. Ask the hospital staff if they allow children to travel so they can visualize where this great event will take place. Hospitals can be very intimidating for a child. It is best if you are introduced to this unique facility before the arrival of the baby.
Include your child in decision making. Including your child in decision making and preparation process will help you communicate your important role in the family. Ask your child to make suggestions to name the new baby. When you buy baby supplies and baby room furniture, allow your child to make some selections.
Learning New Facts and Skills
Soon your child will be assuming a new role as a brother or sister – so it’s a good idea to use language to remind you of this new stage. When discussing the new baby, refer to him as “your new brother” or “new sister,” instead of “my new baby.”
You can also give your child responsibilities he or she sees as a privilege, such as caring for and protecting the baby. Taking this role at an early age will help smooth the transition. “When our new baby Alex was born, our six-year-old son Paul shared the attention by taking the phone and announcing birth to his grandparents,” recalls his mother, Kay. “He was happy to answer his questions: he made him feel part of the whole process.”
Also being a new brother or older sister can bring you many new adventures. Select a hospital that includes siblings in at least one of the childbirth classes. Let the children play with any of the appliances the hospital sends home, such as plastic jugs, glasses, etc. Encouraging your child to make cards, photos and gifts for his new brother or sister and letting him or her open some of the gifts that people bring for the new baby can also be considered as an added gift. And what child would not be happy if asked to take pictures with a disposable camera?
Preventing Feelings of Rejection
Naturally, young children are hungry for information and are very eager to learn. Depending on your child’s age and emotional development, you may want to use this opportunity to present some basic facts about conception, prenatal development, birth and delivery. Books (such as Happy Birth Day by Robie H. Harris) can be especially useful.
Also this is an ideal opportunity to teach children how to care for a baby. Give your child a new doll and use it to demonstrate the proper way to caress, support and care for the new baby. Be sure to use appropriate terms when talking to your child. Explain many of the needs babies have in order for their child to be prepared to fulfill the commitment when they need it.
Also the important character qualities can be developed at this time. Praise your child when helping with the baby so he can learn the satisfaction of sharing with other people. Allowing you to “babysit” your brother or sister while you are on the phone, paying the bill, cleaning, etc. will give your child a sense of responsibility. However, it is important that your children are always well watched.
When a child is accustomed to the full attention of the father, it is difficult for him to accept anything that interferes. Be prepared to give extra support over the course of this time. Make sure your child knows that there is enough love for all children. Answer your child’s questions honestly and listen carefully. Let him know that you understand that he may feel that he is being neglected. (“It’s hard to get used to the new baby, right?”), But make sure he knows his love for him has not changed.
Sometimes it is necessary to make special arrangements. Plan individual trips with your child while someone else cares for the baby. Allow time each day to continue at least a few routines in which you participated with your child before they arrived in new baby, such as reading you books before going to sleep, holding you in your lap in the course of your favorite television program, etc. .
With some preparation and guidance, the birth of a new baby can be an exciting experience for the whole family.