Many expecting parents who already have one child, find it hard to tell their child that there will be a new addition to the family. In fact, some just wait till after the new baby is born and then introduce the elder to it.
There are a lot of reasons for this feeling of uneasiness. The major one is the fragile nature of children. Children are very emotional and some may instantly feel jealous of another person taking their parents’ time and attention. This is why you must carefully explain the concept of being an elder child and how having a second child doesn’t take away your love for them.
How to tell your child you are expecting a baby
It’s not just telling your child that matters. It is how you tell them that guides their response. Your words should be carefully suggested, and your actions after telling them should show that you still love and care for them.
Here are a few ways you can tell your child in a loving way that you are expecting another baby:
- ‘Honey, you are going to have a younger brother/sister. The baby is in mummy’s womb. Come and take a look; we will be one big family with plenty of love.
- Tell them that having a younger sibling does not take away your love for them. Instead, it brings more love to the house, and they have one more person to love them.
- Tell stories with sibling characters that convey a loving and warm family. This helps you create a good image for your child.
- When you give birth, ensure your child is at home with you when the baby comes home. Let your child be a part of the baby’s first days. This allows them to see that having a new baby is not harmful or a reason to be jealous but rather a thing of joy.
- During your pregnancy, teach your child to profess love to the baby in the womb. Let them feel your womb when the baby moves. This allows them to bond with the baby even before it is born.
How to adjust to parenting two children
Adding another child to your family calls for a change in your parenting method. You need to be very intentional in raising your children in a home full of love and happiness. You must be there for your children’s needs, physically or mentally.
Having more than one child means you must learn to love your children equally. You should never form a habit of showing a preference for one child over the other. Such habit could cause a problem in the house as it breeds sibling rivalry, which may last for years.
Parents often don’t even know they are exhibiting such behavior of having a favorite child. Little things like buying more toys for one child, listening to their needs the most, and cooking their favorite food the most, at the expense of the other child, are a clear indication of a favorite.
Here is a quick guideline on how to avoid such an occurrence of sibling rivalry or jealousy
1. Learn to express your love equally
A new child doesn’t mean you should neglect your first child. Show love to your children and pay attention to each of their needs. In a home with both parents, teamwork is needed. If the mother is busy attending to the newborn, the father should entertain the older child and respond to their needs. This makes them also feel like a priority.
2. Teach your child to be compassionate
Teach your child the value of compassion and empathy. This helps them to understand the need for you to take time to attend to the newborn and to rest. Rather than feeling jealous, they will be empathetic and even volunteer to help in ways they can.
3. Teach your child to take care of their younger sibling
Letting your child do basic things like feeding or wiping the newborn helps them feel like a part of the parenting process. This also provides an avenue for you to spend time with both of your children at once while creating a bond between them. However, do not burden them with complex roles as they are not an additional parent and should not be treated as one.