It’s easy to miss the moments
When we’re growing a new human we can feel so focussed on the changes in our body and thinking about how we’ll manage on a practical level when the baby arrives, it’s easy to miss the moments we can use to smooth the road ahead for an elder sibling.
While we have a fair idea of what’s coming and what to expect, their world as they know it is about to go through massive, unexpected changes. A new baby joining the family is a big moment, especially for the little people in the household as their safe, predictable, constant of home life is about the change forever. Their parents, whom they enjoyed all to themselves, they’re now going to have to share ... and it won’t be the lion’s share anymore!
When we look through the lens of a child, whom has no context for what pregnancy, babies and siblings mean, or what implications any of those things will have on their life, we see how important preparation is in being able to successfully transition that elder child into their new family dynamic. They’re about to become a big brother or big sister to a new baby, and as we say in our book, Baby on the Way, it’s a very important job!
7 things I didn’t realise I needed to know ...
Having a new baby is demanding enough, without worrying about diffusing any bombs of first-child-disgruntlement as they struggle to adapt to all the changes happening around them. So, here are 7 things I didn’t realise I needed to know to smooth that road ahead for my eldest child.
The mother’s physical changes during pregnancy can go unnoticed in children.
Letting kids prepare things for the new baby give them a sense of ownership.
The eldest child needs to feel it’s their baby, too, not just the parents.
Keeping to routines creates predictability which helps children feel secure through changes.
Elder children might enjoy simple tasks that help take care of the new baby.
Quality time with the eldest children should happen while the new baby is still present.
A rollercoaster of emotions is a child’s way of communicating overwhelm when they don’t have the words.
When we can look at things from the fresh perspective of a child whose world is changing, we can prepare well and then respond creatively to the challenges that presents. It’s a special time, and ideally, and we want to remember it for all of the right reasons ...!
Help is here
We wrote the bestselling book, Baby on the Way, to make that tricky job of parenting a whole lot easier when there’s a new baby on the way and a big-sibling-to-be to prepare.
The story engages kids in the preparation for a new baby’s arrival by including them in the process, creating predictability around changes, bringing understanding for how it might affect them, and discovering what your family can do to adapt together.
Working with child development experts, practical language, ideas, activities, and strategies are woven into the story to help you and your child handle your next big moment.
We’ve included the tips from this article plus more key messages from our experts at the back of the book to help you understand how kids might see things differently, what they’ll need most, and give you the tools you need to smooth the road ahead.
You can check out a fully personalised preview of ‘Baby on the Way’ here, or find it in a good NZ bookshop near you!
Hannah Davison is the author and co-founder of My Big Moments. Join ‘the village’ on Instagram at @mybigmoments for free practical help and support for parents and caregivers.