Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ideas in helping young children prepare for a new baby

My two oldest getting to know each other

Sometime next month we will be welcoming a third little boy into our house. We've been talking to our boys about this for a little while now. They know that Mom has a baby in her belly and will come and talk to him and see if they can feel him move. I think my four year old has an idea of what this means way more than my two year old. We call our baby by what we will be naming him. We will see how they react to their new brother when he gets here. I'm sure there are all sorts of lists and ideas out there for preparing children for a new addition. I thought I'd post some things that I plan on doing. I don't want my children to be sick of babies before he even arrives so I'll be playing things by ear. Maybe some of these activities will be saved for after the baby is here or not done at all.
  • Show pictures of Mom when she was pregnant with each child
  • Show baby pictures of each children and talk about how small they are and how much they've grown
  • Show child their foot and handprints from the hospital
  • Show child any other things collected at the hospital (wrist bands, baby information and so forth)
  • Rice Baby Unit
  • Talk about the baby in Mom's belly and how it grows as the baby inside grows (use baby's name if you have one picked out)
  • Show the baby's ultrasound pictures to your child and their own ultrasound pictures
  • Talk about what will happen when Mom goes to the hospital to have the baby (where are they going or who is coming to stay with them?)
  • Read ""I by Joanna Cole (there's also a I'm a Big Sister too)'m A Big Brother
  • Read ""The New Baby by Mercer Meyer (there are tons of great books about new babies out there to read with your child)
  • Practice holding a baby using a doll (point out that we need Mom or Dad's help and use gentle and soft touches)
  • Help Mom give the baby a bath (do with doll or wait until baby arrives)
  • Talk about what babies do (eat, sleep, cry- they cry to tell us something because they can't talk yet)
  • Have child help get out baby clothes and hang in closet and put in drawers
  • Get out bassinet- show child that this is where the baby will sleep
  • Have child help get car seat in the car
  • Talk about all the ways that they get to be a big helper to mom (bring diapers, help dress the baby, take the baby for walks with Mom, and etc.)
  • Point out all the great things about growing up and being a big brother (point out things they can do that the baby can't)
  • Draw a picture to give to the baby
One thing is for sure, you never know exactly how your older children will react to a new sibling until they arrive, but I like to make myself feel a little better thinking I've helped prepare them for this big change in their lives.


The Activity Mom said...

Great suggestions! We just added a new baby to the family. The only thing I wasn't prepared for was the look of concern on my son's face as he looked at my far from flat belly and said "Is there another baby in there? How come your belly is big again?" Ha! =)

Mystories said...

I loved all your ideas for preparing children for a new addition. I particularly liked reading a lot to our kids. I like Bia Gets a New Baby Brother by Katherine Buerger-Smith. But as you mentioned there are so many good ones out there.

Little Family Fun said...

Great ideas. Things I'll definitely remember the next time around! :)

Wonder Woman said...

I'm expecting my 3rd in just 2 weeks. At 5 and 3, my kids definitely understand a lot of what's going on, but I hadn't thought about preparing them in all the ways you mentioned -- why baby cries, where she'll sleep, etc. Thanks so much for this post!