Welcoming a Sibling: Advice for Parents
30th November 2020
Welcoming a new baby into the family is such an exciting time. And meeting a new little brother or sister is an incredible experience for a child. But it can also be a tricky time, with children feeling threatened by the new arrival. This is something we see in our Centres quite a lot, so we wanted to share the advice we give to families more widely.
Tips for introducing a new baby to the family
Prepare your child
In the months leading up to the arrival, talk to your child openly about their new brother or sister, and focus on the positives. This might include them having a new playmate (when baby is big enough), or all the visitors you will have when the new baby arrives.
One of our team members who co-parents wrote a book for her son when his step-mum was expecting a baby. It was just a basic powerpoint presentation that she printed off at home and stapled together. But mum filled it with photos of the family and talked about all the people in her son’s life who loved him. As well as all the exciting things that would happen when the baby arrived. There was a copy at both houses and it was read frequently in the lead up to baby’s arrival. Her son now proudly reads the book to his little sister!
Get your child involved
Be it decorating the nursery or helping to choose a name (if you’re brave enough!), if you include your child in the process, they will be far more likely to view it as a positive experience.
Show your child how grown up they are!
Talk to your child about how they can help with the new baby. Be it nappy changes, singing lullabies, pushing the pram. Children love to feel helpful, and this is a great way to build excitement and help them develop their own independence and self–confidence.
Reassure your child
As adults we know that a new baby does not mean you will love your existing child or children any less – but it can be a very real fear for young children. Reassure your child that even with a new baby in the house, there will be plenty of love to go around!
There are a number of great children’s books out there that deal with this subject. (If you don’t want to create your own!). Here are 10 sibling books to help welcome a new baby.
Keep it going when baby arrives
Set aside 20 minutes a day as one-on-one time with your older child/children. Just simply cuddling together to read a book or chat. Making this at a regular time can also help because a predictable routine is important when life has big changes.
Prepare yourself for a few challenges along the way. Some children may regress in developmental areas when new siblings arrive – such as toilet training or sleeping through the night. It’s best to be patient and aware that things will eventually work themselves out.
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