How can you prepare your child for the arrival of their new sibling?
Are you concerned about the effect your baby will have on your current child(ren) and what you can do to make that an easier transition for all of you? It’s no secret that many mother’s feel anxious about leaving their other child(ren) when they are going to be away from them to give birth to their latest baby. Not knowing the time you will be away from home, especially if your other child(ren) are still very young and unable to fully grasp the concept of a new sibling.
The idea is to plan ahead and be mindful of how you can make this a positive experience for your child so that they feel safe during this period. Oftentimes, both parents will be together during this period so getting your plan in place in advance will help you all feel calmer about the transition.
Strong and loving relationship before
Make sure you have a strong and loving relationship before.
Although your child may have a difficult time adjusting with your absence it is important to ensure he/she feels loved and adored before you leave. Sometimes people think creating distance beforehand will help the child to adjust somewhat but it isn’t the case. Keep close and you will keep your connection as soon as you return home.
Find care for your child in your absence
Decide who will take care of your child in your absence and make the connection far in advance.
When you have decided who will be taking care of your child in your absence a great idea is to set up multiple times your child will be with this person. This can be for shorter and longer periods. Let them develop a good bond with your child whereby your child feels safe and happy in this person’s presence. If it is something you feel your child can get comfortable with, try to allow this person to put your child down for a nap and be there when they wake. This is trial and error and you shouldn’t push your child if you see it creates a significant level of discomfort.
Prepare your child for separation
Leaving your child with other people in an attempt to expose them to separation won’t help.
During the early years it is important to be mindful that attempting to leave your child with numerous people to get them used to you not being around or for them not to be clingy may have an adverse affect. The key is to allow your child to build a relationship with a designated person whom you understand they trust and will be calm with whilst you are away.
Communication is key
Assuming your little one is at an age where he/she is able to understand, talk with them and explain where you will be going and why and who they will be staying with and that you will be back soon to come and collect her. Ensure your child knows you will be coming back and it won’t be long. Make an emphasis on the fun times your child will have with whomever they are staying with and perhaps relate back to a memory you all spent playing together with your child’s carer. Whether that be a family member, friend or nanny.
Use your imagination
You could create a book or video for your child so it can hear your voice. A lovely gentle story that is personalised around your family and the arrival of the new baby. Even though your child might not be communicating that much it will be something their carer can read to them whilst your gone and you will have familiarised your child with it prior.
Make sure all your children’s home comforts are with them if they are staying away from home. Ideally it is best to keep them in their own familiar environment if this is an option to avoid too much change. However, having their favourite soft toys, things that smell like parents, usual plates and toys will allow your child to feel much more at ease with their own comforts around them.
We hope this blog was helpful and you probably had most of it covered in your mind. This is a special time for all the family and your child will be so excited to see you and your latest arrival on your return.
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