How to Ready Your Child for a New Sibling

How to Ready Your Child for a New Sibling

Got a baby on the way? Here’s how to get your older kids excited about a new sibling.


If you’ve got another baby on the way, chances are you’ve laundered those hand-me-down onesies and dusted off the infant car seat. But have you gotten your older children ready for the arrival of their new sibling?

Like any of us, kids need to be primed for major changes — and gaining a new sibling is one of the biggest shifts they’ll experience in their young lives. Make the transition as smooth as can be by following these simple tips when introducing a new baby to the family.

Start Prepping Early
Don’t wait until the baby arrives to start talking up the sibling-to-be (but don’t start too soon either). During your tot’s regular bedtime ritual, encourage her to kiss your belly and wish the baby goodnight. Remind your child often how much the baby loves her and wants to learn from her once they are side by side. This way, she’ll start to ease into her role as teacher and protector of her new sister or brother.

Tell Kids How Important They Are
The role of big sister or brother is a very special one, and kids love feeling that they hold an essential place in the family. Support this notion by presenting your child with a T-shirt, necklace or other accessory that reads “Best Big Sister” or “I’m a Big Brother.” Enjoy books together that help explain the baby’s arrival in a way they can see and understand.

Teach Them What They Can and Can’t Do
One way to get your older child excited about the new baby is to tell her how much she’ll be able to help mommy. Great big-sib tasks include being your right-hand man (or woman) during diaper changes and baths and first cheerer-upper when baby is upset. Also let her know — and constantly remind her — of things she cannot do.

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Explain that babies are very delicate so she must never hit or poke him and must always ask before picking up her new brother or giving him anything to play with or eat. And even as she nods her little head in agreement, know you should never leave a toddler alone with an infant, not even for a minute.

Be Clear They Will Always Have Mommy Time
Perhaps the most important message to send your older child as delivery day looms is that you’ll be there for her, even if she has a new sibling. Dole out extra TLC by cozying up in mommy's bed for story time instead of reading in the usual spot. Or take a surprise mid-morning cookie break — anything that’ll let her know that she’ll always get special time with you (and daddy), and always will.

Have the Baby Bring a Gift
If your older child is under age 4, it doesn’t hurt to have the baby arrive home with a gift especially chosen for his older sibling. Wrap the present up with fantastic paper and ribbons and include a note from your newborn telling his big sister how excited he is to meet her. This gift will have more meaning than one from mommy and daddy and should set these new sibs off on the right foot (at least for a while).

While every child will act different with her younger sibling, using these tips can comfort those who are especially anxious while giving the house an excitement — for both you and dad and your older children.

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