Tips for Easing Fears and Resentment in Older Siblings
One way to prepare older children in your home for the arrival of a new baby, and to ensure that they will be more excited and less resentful after the birth, is to get them involved during the pregnancy. Depending on the age of your children, there are a number of simple ways to encourage their involvement and get them to start bonding with your unborn baby.
Tip 1: Let older children attend prenatal appointments with you:
If your other children are old enough to attend your prenatal appointments without misbehaving or distracting you or the doctor – bring them along. Let them listen to the baby’s heartbeat, watch the baby on any ultrasounds you have done, and share their own concerns with the doctor. Children often develop strange ideas about what might be going on inside mommy’s tummy or have fears of their own about the baby’s health. If they are given the opportunity to share these fears and concerns with your doctor, they will not only feel more involved, but less apprehensive about the forthcoming addition to the family. It is a good idea to have a discussion with your OB before bringing your children along, however, as different doctors have different policies regarding who is allowed in the room during an appointment.
Tip 2: Involve your older children when choosing baby names:
Do not forget that your older children will be calling their baby sister or brother by this chosen name for many years. Being allowed to help decide on a name will help them to feel more connected to the baby, and can provide them with the sense of control over the pregnancy they are probably craving. When the new baby is older, telling her the story of how her older siblings helped decide what to name her will make a lovely and funny story as well.
Tip 3: Allow your older children to pick out nursery decorations:
Older children often become very excited at the idea of helping to decorate the nursery. Let them offer ideas on nursery themes, and make certain to bring them shopping with you when picking out blankets and sheets for the crib. Giving each of them a special, age-appropriate, decorating project can be a ton of fun also. Let them help hang pictures on the wall or arrange stuffed animals on the shelves.
Tip 4: Teach them about pregnancy and about newborn care:
Keep your older children updated on the physical changes your unborn baby is going through inside the womb, and explain to them what caring for a newborn is like. Preparing them now for both the positives and negatives of having a tiny baby in the house will help make certain they are less confused and alarmed when the baby cries or spits up. Read parts of your pregnancy books with them – just be certain that the information you give to your children is age-appropriate and doesn’t add to their fear instead of ease it.