When I was pregnant with my second child I was really concerned about how life would change for my first child. I did a lot of research and talked to quite a few friends that had more than one child about how they made the transition from one to two. At the time my son was two-and-a-half years old and because of this I had to try to explain things in a way that he would comprehend what was going to happen. Here’s what we did:
Waited until I was really showing to explain that I had a baby in my tummy. I didn’t want to cause undue worry or confusion for Brennan, my son, until it was very obvious that I was pregnant. I’ll be 29 weeks in the next day and my daughter who will be three in June is starting to understand that there’s really a baby in there.
We looked at books about having a new baby. My son has always related well to books when it comes to understanding things. I think it’s because we can read the same information over and over again; the words never change so it’s less confusing. We’ve done the same with our daughter and we’ve used the same author Joanna Cole with both kids. To help Kendall, my daughter, understand what was happening I tried making a personalized book from Twigtale and this has really helped her understand that she’s not the baby any more. Here are some of the books I’ve used with my kids:
The New Baby by Mercer Mayer
Twigtale personalized books, it’s like Shutterfly but with a pre-written story that you customize.
Have a big brother/sister party once the baby is born! A friend of mine suggested this when I was pregnant with Kendall and I loved the idea. About a month before Kendall was born, we told my son about the party he would get to have to celebrate being a big brother. He was most excited about the cake and ice cream but this really helped him get into the excitement and anticipation of waiting for his sister’s arrival. Plus I like that it puts a positive spin on the oldest not being replaced rather becoming the big brother/sister to the new baby.
We started to accrue hand-me-downs from family friends so we saved those for his party and told him the gifts were from his sister. We invited our immediate family over for the party too.
Whatever you decide to do it’s important that you do actually prepare your child(ren) for any new babies that will be entering the family. It can be quite shocking for them to understand depending on their age but with a few age-appropriate tools you can make the transition as easy as can be.