Introducing a new baby to the family can be an exciting time and a stressful one for older siblings. Read below for ways to help siblings adjust to a new baby coming home.

Be Honest

  • The moment you know you’re expecting you should tell your child. There is not a single moment that is right or perfect. Just be up front and honest with him/her.
  • If your child responds by asking questions, for instance: “Where do babies come from?” Tell the truth. This is not necessarily a question that requires you to explain sex. In this case, it is appropriate to say the baby forms in the uterus, inside the mother’s body. Your child may ask more questions, which again you should answer honestly.

Encourage Bonding

  • To get your child interested in his/her unborn sibling have him/her spend time with friends or family members who have newborns.
  • Encourage your child to participate in picking potential names for the baby. S/he will feel like a part of the family if you make your child a part of discussion. You can also bring your children along on doctor’s visits so they can hear the baby’s heartbeat.

Schedule One-On-One Time

  • Remind your child that she is special by scheduling time for just the two of you once a week. As your pregnancy moves along you will be more caught up in preparing the baby’s room and going to doctor’s appointments. Setting aside time for the two of you to have dinner, watch a movie or play a board game, will remind your child that you love her and will discourage any jealousy she may have about her younger sibling.

Empower Your Children

  • Let them know how important their role is as an older sibling. Remind them that they will be a role model and that they can teach their little brother or sister things they already know. If they feel like they are needed by the new baby it will make them feel special and will make them want to be a part of welcoming the newest member of your family.

Angela’s Teachable Moment: When shopping for your baby, ask for your older children’s input. Making your children feel like an important part of the process will make them proud to be an older sibling and make them feel interested in their new brother or sister.