Being a mom of 6 can really make life hectic most of the time, but having kids who, for the most part, get along with each other, and are actual friends with one another, makes a world of difference to maintain harmony in the home. I honestly believe that this has been cultivated since before I even brought home my 2nd child, by including my oldest, who was a year and a 1/2 at the time, in almost everything.
The transition from a family of 3 to 4 (or more, we’re now 8!) is challenging for us, as parents, and is just as monumental to big brothers and sisters. Understanding that first, to help them navigate through the changes, is a simple yet effective approach that can lead to a lifetime of sibling love.
These are 5 ways that I found to make it easier and help your older children welcome their new baby sibling into your family:
Talk About It! One of the best ways to talk about your new arrival is with books! Before the new baby comes, take trips to the library and let your big kid choose books about babies. There are lots of great books specifically about becoming a big sister or brother, as well. Daddy showing sonogram pictures, and feeling mommy’s belly kicks, are also great ways to visually share and chat about who will be entering your lives very soon.
Routine Change Whatever changes in routine will take place when the baby comes, like Daddy or Grandma taking over, such as bedtime reading/tuck-in, baths, daycare/preschool drop-off or pick-up, try to implement the changes before your new baby is born. That way, your older one won’t have too many emotional disruptions at once. Having the routine set up already, will feel more comfortable to her during the upheaval of introducing a new (loud) little one.
Get Him/Her Involved When your older child is included in everything happening with the new baby, then, even if he’s not so sure he really approves of that little person joining the family, he at least won’t feel excluded. This can be as easy as telling baby what he did that day or singing a song. Giving him a “job”, such as feeding baby a bottle, is an opportunity for him to feel proud of himself (and for you to tell him how proud you are of him too!)
Handle Guests Visitors with the best intentions, in their excitement over your little newborn, may say or do some things that could make your older children feel somewhat slighted. When your guests gush over your new baby, enjoy it, and then tell them how awesome new big sister is doing with her activities, and is such a great helper with her “job”. It also helps to have a few little gifts on hand for big sis, if many of them show up with baby presents (open them after they leave!) It’s also best to keep these visits short, if possible.
Time Together Schedule a time to share each-others company at least every week, no matter how long, to enjoy some one on one time with your family’s new big sibling(s). I call these “special days” with my kids, and the only thing that matters is that he has your undivided attention. Knowing that it’s a daily or weekly thing will also make him feel secure that even as busy as you are with his new little baby, and no matter how hectic things get, he can depend on you to stop everything and spend that time with him, because he’s just as important to you.
Big brothers and sisters are growing up, learning new things and forming beautiful bonds with your new little ones. With all their new experiences, most of all, they want you to join them on their journey.
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