5 Expert Ways to Help your Firstborn Adjust to New BabyA new addition to your little family is a big deal. It may seem less daunting than your first, but your second baby comes with his or her own little basket of new adjustments. While you may not be as worried about the nighttime feedings and learning how to change a diaper, there are many reasons why bringing new life into the world for the second time will likely still feel unknown and unchartered. It's important to keep in mind that you have to prepare your firstborn for their new little sibling as well. Here are 5 expert ways to help your firstborn adjust to new baby.
1.) Plan educational activitiesBefore your newest addition arrives, play pretend with your toddler. Grab a babydoll and ask them to pretend that it's the new baby! Guide your firstborn on how to softly touch, hold, and kiss the babydoll and explain that being gentle is very important for little babies. Try to play pretend in this way several times before the new baby arrives. You can even ask your toddler to go grab diapers and wipes in preparation. They will love feeling like part of the action. Don't forget to give lots of extra love and encouragement when your toddler helps out. This is just 1 of 5 expert ways to help your firstborn adjust to new baby.
2.) Try to refrain from using the word "play"Child psychologists have suggested that mom-to-be should try not to use the word play when telling their firstborns about the new baby. By saying "you'll have a new little sister to play with" the toddler will think that they can play with the baby the way they do with children their age. Then, when the new baby comes, they will be confused when you scream no when they try to play catch with your newborn. Instead take an approach like, "when your baby sister is here, you will love hugging and kissing her!". Try to incorporate that your firstborn should be as gentle as possible with the baby, because they aren't as big and strong as their big brother/sister! By instilling a more "caring" attitude in your toddler before you give birth, you will have less teaching moments when the baby gets here.
3.) Cater your languageWhen the new baby comes, it will be hard to focus on anything else for a while. Be sure instead of saying "be quiet, baby's sleeping" or "We'll go after baby's nap" or "I can't help you right now I'm changing baby's diaper" try to say "let's use inside voices" or "we can go after lunch" or "just one minute". By shifting the blame away from the baby, your toddler will feel much better towards the time devoted to the baby.
4.) Be understandingThis is the biggest change that your toddler has ever faced. Be patient with them. While before, they got to have all of Mom-to-be and Dad's attention, they suddenly have to be placed on the back-burner while their new sibling gets a bigger share of the attention. Try to carve out a few hours in advance for after the delivery to focus on your firstborn and explain to them what is happening. Don't worry about using concepts and language they'll understand, kids are much brighter than we give them credit for. The more calmly and confidently you explain the situation and WHY this is all happening, the more assured your toddler will feel.
5.) Lots of Praise
Finally, 5 out of 5 expert ways to help your firstborn adjust to new baby. Whenever older sibling does something kind or helpful, make a big deal out of it. Tell the family over dinner, bring it up the next day. Any acting up or attitude after the new baby arrives is normal and can be soothed with some extra love and attention.
We hope that these 5 expert ways to help your firstborn adjust to new baby were educational and helpful for you!