It is important to prepare older sisters and brothers for the baby’s birth already during pregnancy by talking realistically about the baby and the changes that will take place. The older children’s feelings and experiences should be approached with understanding and acceptance.
- Tell the older siblings about the baby already during pregnancy.
- Read books together about the topic.
- Talk about the older siblings when they were babies.
- Older siblings should be included in expecting the baby.
- Older siblings should have an opportunity to see the baby’s things.
- Other major changes should be scheduled and prepared well in advance before the baby is born.
When and how to talk to children about a new baby?
- The right time to tell about the new baby depends on the older siblings’ age.
- Children should hear about the baby sister or brother first from their parents.
- You should talk about the baby well in advance to allow time for the older siblings to get used to the thought.
- Prepare the children also for other possible changes, e.g. starting day care or room arrangement.
- Give a realistic picture about family life with the baby
- When you talk about the new baby, it is important to emphasise the fact that the older siblings are just as important to the parents as the baby.
You can help the older children to get used to the baby’s arrival:
- Through play, for instance caring for a baby doll.
- Telling stories about e.g. sibling relationships.
- Talking about the time when older siblings were babies.
- Watching videos and/or photos about the older siblings as babies; you can compile a photo album for an older sibling to look at independently.
- Comparing the older sibling’s feelings to the baby’s potential ones; for instance you can say: ”The baby hears you talk and likes it for sure. I wonder if the baby will suck her thumb like you did?”
- Letting older siblings feel your rounding belly.
- Taking the older siblings with you to the maternity and child health clinic.
- Letting the older siblings choose clothes or other gear.
- Thinking up a nice surprise for the baby.