Having a baby when I had older children was something I was concerned with. I thought for a long time how having a baby would affect my older children and how they would be able to cope and deal with having a sibling that was considerably younger than them.
My older children were ten and seven when we decided to have another baby. My oldest wasn’t as pleased as her younger brother was, but I figured if I could help them through the process and include them, then all would be well in my house.
Preparing Older Kids for a New Baby
Here are 5 the things I did to help my children adjust to having a new baby in the house!
Help Pick Names – We welcomed any names our kids were willing to give us and compiled a list of all the names for girls and boys. My husband and I added our own and the list continued to grow for six months.
At six months, we decided to stop collecting names and focus in on narrowing it down. We now had to choose just one boy and one girl name at the end, because we liked our babies to be a surprise when they’re born.
By eight months we narrowed our names list from 50+ names to just four for each gender. Hubby and I made the final decision and had fun revealing the names we picked over a family game night.
Include Them with Appointments – Bringing my children to the appointments with me was fantastic to watch. As the doctor asked me about my pregnancy, weight gain, and appetite, my kids drilled him on delivery, how fast he was, would he be ready, and if he had special certification for delivering babies.
It was adorable and funny. I had an excellent doctor that played the part with my children. Including them when I got my ultrasounds to make sure the baby was healthy and developing well (not to know the gender) helped them to imagine another physical being with them. The baby was right where they could see it.
Shop Together – Since I had children before, I was prepared to buy and stock up on all the baby products I could. If you haven’t had kids, or they’re much older, you might have no idea how many diapers a baby will go through in one month!
It helps to bring along your kids for a shopping trip and make them carry everything. Seriously though, shop together and let them pick out things to include for clothing, diapers, nursery items, feeding and teething items, and stuffed animals.
This will help your children with buying gifts for their new family member, which will make them happier and calmer about the baby’s arrival.
Set Up the Nursery Together – Building the crib, arranging the furniture, and picking a theme are not something you should decide alone. The family should get a voice in how the nursery looks for their family member.
I allowed my kids to put together a small shelf, while my husband and I built the crib. This gave them an important task to accomplish and enabled them to feel like their part was valuable. I assign my children tasks that I think will help them feel better about their contribution and how they handle the situation.
After the pieces had been built, we all decided how the room would be laid out through pictures. Us parents decided to look through Pinterest for inspiration while the kids drew their visions. We all came together to make sure it looked like the family had a say in each part.
Come Up with Birth Plan Together – Most birth plans I did in the past were really simple. I made sure my husband knew where my bags were, what hospital we were going to, and the family’s phone numbers.
This time, I allowed my children to take a more creative side. I thought it would be a fun memory to add to this baby’s photo album about their sibling’s ideas for how to get to the hospital if zombies attack, or if the hospital is closed where I could go to have the baby. We even had a plan that included what to do if the baby arrived while we were at Disneyland.
After we all had come to compromises on colors, names, and ideas for the birth, my family felt whole again. My children realized we weren’t replacing them, but adding on to our family because we loved them so much.
It’s important to make sure children know why you’re doing something and that they are still a part of your life with those decisions. My kids understand that we want a big family so that when they’re older, they’ll be surrounded by love.
Shirley has blogged about babies and parenting for a bit over two years, being a proud mother herself. She writes informational blog posts for parents and hopes she can help with your questions and concerns with parenting. You can visit her blog or follow her on twitter.