For the majority of parents, teaching an only child, or first born child, how to handle a new baby is something that we have to go through. This is something that I am going to have to go through in a couple of months as I have a 4 ½ year old son and will be delivering another baby boy at the first of August. I am starting to see that my son will have quite a bit of adjusting to do when the new little guy arrives as he’s not used to younger children following him around and messing with “his” toys. As a result, I have been doing a lot of research and have started to prepare my son for the arrival of his baby brother.
I know that I’m not the only woman out there who is about to go through this and so I thought you may find it beneficial to read a few tips for how to prepare your only child for a new baby sibling. Below are some of the ideas I have found and began to implement.
1. Get the child involved as soon as possible. Many experts believe that it’s best to get your first-born child involved in the pregnancy as soon as possible. For me, that was after I was already past the 12 week mark. My son is one who doesn’t like surprises, so telling him early was something we needed to do. To help him get excited about the new baby, we made sure that we included him in on the name-choosing process. We allowed our son to pick out the middle name for his brother. We’ve also taken him to several stores with us and let him pick out some little boy’s outfits for the baby as well as several toys. I think this has definitely helped him get excited about the upcoming arrival of his new baby brother.
2. Bring your child around younger children for play dates, etc. This was a good tip for me, because my son hadn’t been around many kids younger than himself. Taking him to school (3 year old program) was an adjustment this year but those were still all kids his own age. Luckily, I have a friend who just had a baby and another who has a 1 ½ year old little boy. Bringing my son around the baby is great because it has helped him get an idea of what it’s like to have a baby. It has also been good to set up play dates with my friend who has the 1 ½ year old because my son is learning how to handle himself around a young toddler who is following him around.
3. Do things with your first-born child alone. This is a tip that we will begin to implement right after the baby is born. As a first-born, only child my son is not used to having to compete for our attention. However, that will change the minute the new baby arrives. So, to make sure our son still feels loved and needed, my husband and I will take turns taking him out by himself so we are sure he gets the one-on-one time he needs. We also plan to take him to dinner, the movies or something similar at least once a month as a couple while his baby brother is with my parents for a few hours.