"Juhu" and "Oh jee": A sibling is on the way!Smaller children can often not grasp it before the birth of the sibling and then only have problems with not being "sole ruler" when the new family member is actually born. (Of course, that doesn't necessarily have to be the case!) Older children, from around 3 to 4 years of age, on the other hand, already understand that a new baby is on the way and that - in addition to great anticipation - can cause strong fear of loss in relation to mom from an early age and / or trigger dad. Therefore it is really important and helpful for the later harmonious family life to prepare the big siblings-to-be for the arrival of the new family member and to keep a few things in mind after the baby is born:
1. Include the childIn any case, it is helpful to include your child in the experience of pregnancy and the preparation for the sibling. It is important that you really think about it in advance: What does our child understand and what is too complex or can perhaps even seem unsettling? Very small children cannot do anything at all with long periods of time and so it is probably more confusing in the 4th month to talk about the future with four (fifth, sixth) people. In the best case, this information simply bypasses Mini without leaving any impression. With older children, however, you can start spreading the good news earlier if you want. No matter how old your child is: Let them choose something for the baby from time to time, a romper suit or a cuddly toy, for example; or invite them to paint a picture for their new sibling. This way you can remind them again and again later that they have chosen / made this beautiful thing for their sibling themselves.
2. No false promisesAs always in life, it is helpful not to make false promises when preparing for a sibling. Because in this way you create expectations that are guaranteed to be disappointed - and that is certainly not conducive to peaceful family life. For example, the "classic announcement" from future playmates usually backfires, because a baby is a lot in the first few months, but not a fun playmate for the older sibling. Always be realistic for your age when you tell your child about the future with the new baby. This will save him and you from frustration and disappointment.
3. Establish mum-child rituals and papa-child ritualsIn case your not very firm yet Rituals living with your child, it is high time you are pregnant with your next child! Fixed rituals that keep their place in life with the new baby give your child an incredible amount of security. So think about which little rituals you as mom or dad would like to experience daily or weekly with the (soon) big sibling and establish these as an integral part of family life. Even when the new baby arrives, the older child should be able to have their own mom / dad time if possible. This is not guaranteed to prevent bad jealousy, but you may be able to prevent something. It is important that you give your child the feeling that they are still infinitely loved and unique, even if they have to share your attention in the future.
4. Create a baby photo book and look at it togetherAnother wonderful way to give your older child a feeling of security, security and love is to look at your own baby photos during pregnancy and tell the child how happy you were about his birth back then. For a really nice one "I book" (or a Mom & me-/ Papa & Ich-Buch), our high-quality and beautifully designed one is suitable Photo book for children of course very good. Keep looking at pictures of the older sibling's pregnancy and the first year of life together and showing him: "You have received everything that the baby now receives in terms of attention and care."
5. Time with dad, grandma & grandpa and other caregiversDuring pregnancy, make sure that your big child regularly spends time alone with dad, grandma and grandpa and / or other close caregivers. During the postnatal period and beyond, it will be helpful and necessary that the mom has rest from time to time and can only deal with the newborn baby and herself. It is therefore important to get the older child used to doing regular activities without a mom with dad, grandma, or another caregiver well in advance of the baby's arrival. Because: If you only start suddenly after the birth of the little sibling child, jealousy is as good as inevitable. And nobody really needs that.
6. Gift from baby to big siblingAn absolute classic (for reasons) is of course the gift that the newborn sibling brings to its older sibling when they land on earth. Think about an absolute great gift in advance that your older child will most likely be very happy about. You should have this gift wrapped and ready in good time before the birth. As soon as the new baby arrives and the siblings meet for the first time, you give the big child the gift that "the baby brought him". So you have a good chance that your older child's attitude towards the baby is initially positive!
7. Sibling book for the day care center
If you live together as a new family of four (five, six ...), it helps to let the feeling of togetherness grow naturally, but also to consciously strengthen it. For children of kindergarten age, a nice sibling book can have a supportive effect. As soon as you have the first weeks / months of reunification behind you, it makes sense to create a sibling photo book in which you document the first weeks or months of the children together.
The older child can then (hopefully proudly) show this sibling book around the daycare center and thus let his friends and favorite educators participate in the big changes at home. Here you can design a uniquely beautiful sibling book for your children.
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Image source: The beautiful photos in this post are from Sandra Birkner / Lev & Levje. Thank you very much for that!