How to get your children excited about the new arrival
Barbara Freedman De Vito
The sudden appearance of a new baby can be rough on the
other children in the family. Daily routines are disrupted and
suddenly mom and dad are too busy to pay attention to
older siblings. Worst of all, the new baby is the instant star
of the family - the center of attention. The adorable baby is
the big attraction for everyone from mom and dad, to visiting
relatives, to casual acquaintances bumped into at the mall,
right down to strangers on the street. Everyone is talking
baby talk, cooing at the new baby, and making a fuss over
the newborn. The older kids may feel shunted aside and
resentful. This is especially true for the displaced former
baby of the family.
Given these natural reactions, anything that you can do to
prepare your other children for the new arrival will ease the
transition. Everything you can do to involve your kids in
advance and to get them to actually look forward to the birth
will make a big difference in how they experience it. It might
even help establish a stronger brother or sister bond with
the new baby that will contribute to the lasting closeness of
a positive sibling relationship.
Here are some simple ideas that expectant parents might
try, to smooth the road ahead for their other children. Most
are common knowledge or simply common sense, but
sometimes too easily forgotten amid all the excitement and
activity surrounding the birth of a new baby. A few might be
new ideas that are worth a try. A little advance thought and
preparation may go a long way towards making the
"blessed event" a blessing for the ENTIRE family. Hopefully,
you'll be inspired to try some of these ideas, so here goes.
Let your other kids in on the secret as soon as the
pregnancy is confirmed, well before it is obvious just by
looking at mom. Even with your youngest children, try to give
them some understanding of the changes that mom is
going through and what they mean. Check out your local
public library. It should have books geared to all different
ages that can explain, in terms that children can
understand, the biological process of having a baby. Picture
books about baby animals may also help crystalize the
concept and relate it to something your kids have already
experienced, like watching newborn kittens, for example.
The library or local bookstore should also be able to
guide you to works of fiction, including picture books for
preschoolers, that focus on the arrival of a new baby in the
family and such issues as jealousy and feelings of neglect.
Quiet parent-child story reading times can provide an ideal
opportunity to prepare young children for changes that are
on the way and to reassure them of their own importance
and irreplaceable position in the family. Discuss things
openly and answer your kids' questions.
Encourage your children to think about life with the new
baby and how family routines will be altered. Coax your kids
to develop their own lists of things that will be fun about
having a new baby in the house - for example, they can push
the baby carriage and help dress the baby. Help them think
about all the things that they'll be able to share with and
teach the baby as he or she grows up and how important
their role will be as a "big brother" or "big sister".
At other times, let them focus on coming up with ways that
they can help care for the baby or have them think of things
they can do around the house to ease the burden on mom
and dad. Also, take this opportunity to make your kids aware
that babies require gentle handling and a quiet
environment. You might even use a baby doll with your
younger children to role play baby's diaper changing and
Nurture the feeling that every family member is of equal
importance and that each occupies a special niche and has
special contributions to make. No one is being replaced by
the baby and the family cannot be whole unless EVERYONE
is a part of it. If your kids internalize this belief, you may be
able to avoid some of the trauma and the understandable
resentment toward this little stranger who has stolen
mommy and daddy's hearts. The better your children are
prepared for the impending event, the better they'll be able to
cope with it emotionally.
As part of that preparation process, from time to time plan
special activities with your kids that relate to babies. For
example, they might draw pictures of babies or collect baby
photos from magazines and create a collage. Sit down and
go through photo albums of your kids' baby pictures and
reminisce with them about their own arrivals into the world.
Re-tell any family anecdotes surrounding their births. Teach
your children lullabies that they can sing to the baby, plus
finger games and "peek-a-boo" games to entertain their
new brother or sister.
Arts and crafts projects can furnish a special parent-child
discussion and sharing time and may sometimes revolve
around preparations for the new baby. Kids can make
pictures to hang in the baby's room, or create a baby-safe
mobile to hang over the baby's crib, or draw scenes in which
they imagine their lives with the new baby - rocking the baby
in their arms, and so forth.
Let the kids be involved in every facet of the preparations
that you yourself are making for the baby's arrival. Your kids
can help you repaint the nursery or paint a mural on the
nursery wall, and help you pick out baby furniture, bedding
and nursery decorations. They can choose baby clothes that
appeal to them. All of these things can later give the
pride and a sense of importance and inclusion in the baby's
life. When grandma says "What a cute bib the baby's
wearing," your preschooler can say "I picked it!"
In addition, make your children key members of the family
committee that chooses a name for the new baby. Keep the
kids involved and actively participating and then, as the birth
becomes imminent, dad and the kids may even conspire to
prepare some extra, special, secret surprises for mom and
the baby, like buying or creating a special keepsake item or
putting together a "welcome home" party.
In short, it's always worth the effort to do as much as you
can to get your kids involved in and excited about the arrival
of a new baby. Include them in every step of the process.
The more they feel that it is THEIR baby, too, the more
positive their attitudes will be towards the baby. In this way,
you can try to minimize the natural insecurities and feelings
of jealousy that go with the territory.
The suggestions mentioned in this article can help lay the
groundwork for good sibling relationships but, of course,
you can't rest on your laurels once the baby is born. After the
baby arrives, try to do everything you can to set aside some
special time each day that's just for you and each of your
other children. Offer them special little treats or outings or
surprises, and encourage grandma and grandpa to do the
same. To reduce jealousy, give your kids pride in the things
that they CAN do that the baby can't do, like dressing
themselves or enjoying a movie or reciting their ABCs.
Continue along the path that you started on months earlier -
reassure your kids that each of them is just as important as
the baby is, so that they won't feel that they must compete for
your love and attention.
Good luck and oh, by the way, congratulations!
Barbara Freedman-De Vito is a professional storyteller and artist. Visit Kids T-Shirts, children's clothing, and adult's clothes decorated with pictures and words
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Barbara_Freedman-De_Vito