They want a puppy, not a sibling!
Your little ones wanted a puppy. Instead, you're giving them a new sibling. But how will they react to the idea of a new brother or sister or cope with no longer being the centre of attention? There's a few things you can do to help them get used to the idea.
At a glance
- Talk to your little one about the importance of being a big brother or sister
- Let them help you to prepare for the new baby as much as possible
- Read your child stories about growing families
Bigging up the importance of the 'big brother' or 'big sister' role seems to be the most popular approach with mums: “We told our son he was getting a sister and how important he'd be to her. On the day after she was born he started trying to teach her stuff!” mum-of-two Leanne says, despite admitting she was initially 'worried' about how her little boy would feel after five years of being an only child.
Involve your child from the start
As soon as you have a visible bump, or a picture from your scan, start preparing your older child for their sibling's arrival. Answer their questions as honestly and age-appropriately as you can.
Make them feel important in their role
Let them 'help' prepare for the new baby as much as possible – perhaps with choosing clothes, or unpacking all the newborn bits and bobs from when they were a newborn.
Read your child stories about growing families - My New Baby and Waiting for Baby by Rachel Fuller are both good titles to start with. You could also tell your toddler all about his own babyhood, through photos and other mementoes you've kept, such as wrist and ankle ID bands.
Brief your family
Mum-of-two Catherine suggests buying a small gift from the baby for the older child, and making sure other people remember to engage with both children - not just the newborn.
“We asked family and friends to make a fuss of our daughter when visiting, rather than just heading straight for our new baby son. She had a few big sister cards and presents and loved that.”
Prepare for a bit of regression
It is totally normal for older children to regress a bit when a new sibling comes along – don't panic or worry too much if your toddler suddenly becomes more clingy, or acting 'babyish' after perhaps months of being potty trained, or eating well. Like all phases, this too shall pass!