When a new baby is on the way, your precious child who has been the “Only Child” for as long as they’ve been alive will require some preparations that are initiated by you, the parent. It is completely natural for your child to progress through a variety of emotions, question their importance in the family structure, and quite possibly feel threatened. It is up to you to calm their anxieties, show them that nobody else can replace them – not even a cute little newborn! – and reassure them that the new baby is a wonderful thing, rather than something to feel threatened or worried about.
It is important to let your child know that it is okay to feel whatever emotions that they are feeling. Even if they feel anger or jealousy, tell your child to talk to you about how he feels and walk him through his emotions to figure out exactly what it is that is bothering him. Maybe the excitement of a new baby coming is simply overwhelming. Whatever the underlying reasons are for the emotions, let your child know that the emotions that he is feeling are normal. The more you talk to him about the new baby, the less emotional he will be.
There are thousands of books that talk about a new baby arriving and explain how the older sibling feels. Get your hands on some of these books and have discussions with your child about the character in the story and how his feelings are similar to the character’s feelings. This will open the doors of communication and also show your child that he is not the only one that has ever felt this way about a new baby. A popular book to read with your child when a new baby is coming is the Berenstain Bears “New Baby”. “I Used To Be the Baby” by Robin Ballard is another book that is a popular choice for parents who are preparing a child for a new baby.
Request Help From the Child
You can also come from the standpoint that the new baby will not be able to care for herself, so she will need help from her big brother. The more you make your child feel involved, the less he will fear the changes that come with a new baby. Explain to him that new babies cannot feed themselves or do anything else that is important for survival. Make plans that include your child in the caretaking of the new baby. You would be surprised at how much he wants to help.
If you still experience problems with your firstborn when the baby comes, like regression in potty training and unpredictable sleep patterns, just continue to talk to him and include him as much as possible. Be patient with him and let him get acquainted with his new baby at the rate that he is comfortable. Sooner or later, he will realize that he is still part of the family and just as important as the new baby.