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Preparing Your Child for the New Sibling

When to tell your child about the new baby depends on your child's age and ability to understand the concept of waiting. You will want to tell your child yourself, so you should consider telling them before you share your news with other family members and friends.

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Activities you can do with your child during your pregnancy
  • Look at pictures of them as a newborn.
  • Discuss baby names.
  • Bring your child to prenatal visits; let them hear the heart beat.
  • Visit a friend with an infant.
  • Read books about having a new baby in your family.
  • Attend the sibling class.
Plan for your hospital stay
  • Help your child pack a special bag for him or her at the hospital.
  • Make arrangements for your child during your hospital stay.
  • Children are welcome to visit any time as long as they are free of infections.
  • Depending on the age of your child and the time of delivery it may to best to let him see the baby before other family and friends.
  • If your child is young it may be best to have the new baby in the crib when your child comes to visit so you can have some cuddle time before introducing the new baby.
  • If the older child will change rooms or cribs you may want to do this several months before the baby arrives.
  • Keep toddlers’ routine as normal as possible to help the transition.
When baby comes home
  • Depending on your child's age finds meaningful ways he can help with the baby.
  • A young child may want to join mom and dad and the new baby by sleeping in the room with them a night or two.
  • Try to spend some one-on-one time with your older child doing activities she likes such as reading or watching a movie together.
  • Encourage family and friends to engage your child in conversation other than the new baby.
Your child's feelings
  • Don't be alarmed if your child isn't instantly fond of the new baby.
  • Your child may not show a lot of interest in the baby at first.
  • Your child may regress in his or her behaviors. He may want to be like the baby.
  • Let your child talk about his or her feelings about the new baby.
  • Change may be difficult for your child. Try to maintain as much normalcy as possible, such as bedtime, discipline, school routines, play dates, etc.
  • Misbehaving may be your child's way on expressing his or her feelings. Be patient; things will improve.