3 Sure-Fire Steps to Prepare Older Siblings for a New Baby

photo by Dianna's creative commons flickr 85036580_3b6affd3b7

Does Pregnancy Bring Joy and Happiness


preparing older siblings

A pregnancy brings joy and happiness to new parents, however, the idea of a new baby may cause anxiety or uncertainty in older siblings. Parents are often consumed with preparations for the arrival of the newest member of the family. From choosing a name to buying baby supplies to setting up the nursery, new parents are overwhelmed with tasks that they need to accomplish before the baby’s arrival. Older siblings may feel left out or not fully understand what the future holds for them. Parent’s can prepare older siblings by including them as much as possible and explaining things to them in an age-appropriate manner.

1) During the Pregnancy

When to announce the new baby will depend upon the child’s maturity level and how well they grasp new concepts. Explaining the baby’s arrival in terms of seasons, such as the baby will arrive when it is hot and sunny or cold and snowy, may make more sense to younger children.

To help prepare older siblings for the birth of the new baby, parents can try a few different things, including:

  • Looking at pictures from the baby book
  • Visiting friends or family members with young infants
  • Attending older sibling classes at a hospital
  • Reading age-appropriate books about pregnancy and babies
  • Picking out clothing and new items for the baby
  • Going to the doctor’s office to see the ultrasound or hear the heartbeat
  • Avoiding major changes, such as toilet training, around the time the baby is due

2) Childbirth

Some hospitals may not allow siblings to be present, so parents should set-up care for their older children well in advance. They should prepare their older children for the birth by letting them know where they will be staying and for how long. Parents who choose to have their older children at the birth should enlist a friend or family member to be present. That individual’s role should be to focus solely on the older siblings, as children may become bored, anxious or upset and need to leave during the birth. Visitors may bring gifts for the new baby, so having a few gifts for the older siblings will help them feel included.

3) After the New Baby Comes Home

Have your say