By Lori Lite
Any type of change can cause stress and that includes the arrival of a new baby. Preparing siblings ahead of time for the arrival of a new baby will decrease stress and increase joyful acceptance. Children might be wondering how the new baby will change the family dynamics. Fears can be reduced when children understand how the new baby will impact their lives. Do not assume they know.
Start with communication awareness. Children do not always have the words to express their thoughts, fears, or feelings. Be the one to start up conversations with your children. Address their questions and concerns. Share your own positive feelings. If your children are too young to communicate their concerns know that they are listening, watching, and picking up cues from you. Children are acutely aware of their parent’s feelings of stress.
Share your plans on where the baby will sleep and how each family member will help you to care for the baby. Ask your children what their thoughts and ideas are. Involve your children in the process of preparing for the baby’s arrival. Allow your children to decorate and select items for the baby. Resist your urge to correct their creative choices.
Focus on empowerment rather than excitement. A state of over-excitement is a difficult and exhausting energy to maintain while waiting for the new baby to arrive. Such excitement can quickly change to frustration or even anger. Honor your child’s feelings and reassure your child. Don’t expect your children to always feel excited. There is something wonderful and calm in the neutral feeling of acceptance.
- Shorten your child’s waiting time by waiting as long as possible before making the big announcement.
- Use positive and inclusive phrases that create a relationship between the sibling and new baby.
“We are growing our family.”
“We are having a baby.”
“The baby is going to love you!”
“You are going to be a big sister.”
“What will you teach the baby?”
- Introduce relaxation techniques. Let your child hold their doll and practice diaphragmatic breathing. This simple deep breathing technique will come in handy when you need to soothe your child or baby. (Indigo Dreams and Indigo Ocean Dreams CDs and downloads teach children this technique. Sea Otter Cove and A Boy and a Bear introduce belly breathing for relaxation.)
- Set up the sibling relationship to be more than just playmates. Let your children know how important they will be in their new roles as sibling, role model, and teacher.
- Visit the hospital or place of delivery with your children so that they understand where you will be when you have the baby.
Adding a little one to your family should be the most delightful time of your life. With a little awareness and an eye for inclusion you can create a calm space of acceptance for your family. Keep siblings involved and give lots of extra hugs to make this transition a joy filled time.
Lori Lite is a top 5% social media influencer, content focused blogger, mom, author, and founder of Stress Free Kids. Lori’s award winning books received national attention on Shark Tank and her sort after accessible tips have been featured in hundreds of publications to include: CNN Living, Real Simple Magazine, USA Today, Family Circle, Working Mother Magazine, and Web MD. Lori’s constant upbeat presence on Twitter (@StressFreeKids), Instagram, and Facebook make her a real-time resource for anyone seeking practical advice for stress free living.