How to help your child get ready for a new baby
Published on: 10 June 2016 Author: Kate Hancock
It's exciting news: your child has a new brother or sister on the way. But how can you help them prepare for life with a new sibling?
One of the biggest and most exciting changes for any young child is the arrival of a new baby in the family.
Preparing for a new arrival can be an exciting and busy, but also overwhelming, time for everyone - with lots of questions and maybe some concerns, as well.
Tips to help your child
Books can play a really important role in helping toddlers and young children both understand and adapt to the arrival of a younger sibling.
Reading with children can provide a great opportunity to make plans, talk about new experiences, and discuss any questions or worries they may have.
Here are some tips on how to use books to help your child, when there's a new brother or sister on the way:
- Find some books that explain the basic facts about babies and pregnancy if your child has lots of questions - they may also give you the opportunity to talk about what to expect when the new baby arrives.
- Choose some books that you think the new baby will enjoy, so your child feels involved; you could also talk about how being a big brother or sister is an important and really fun job!
- Look at books together, to reassure your child that they are still just as important to you, at a time when it can seem as if a new baby is the focus of all the attention; reading with your child can also provide some important one-on-one time once the baby has arrived.
Books to buy or borrow
There are lots of lovely books available to answer your child's questions and help them adapt to a new arrival.
These are some of my favourites:
- There's A House Inside My Mummy (Giles Andreae and Vanessa Cabban) - A gentle story with lovely rhyming text about a boy waiting for his new baby brother or sister to arrive. This is a great one for helping to answer some questions about pregnancy.
- Where Willy Went (Nicholas Allan) - Perfect for explaining the facts of life to children who may have some technical questions about where babies come from. This is funny, warm and very accessible.
- The New Small Person (Lauren Child) - Fantastic book about one boy's experiences of going from being an only child to a big brother, and all the changes (and frustrations) it brings. I love this book, as it not only deals with the challenges of a new baby, but also looks at how the sibling relationship grows as the baby gets older.
- It's A Little Baby (Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb) - Lovely book for younger toddlers with simple, rhyming text and some charming illustrations of babies. The lift-the-flap pages are also something siblings can explore together.
- Princess Polly: I'm a New Big Sister/ Pirate Pete: I'm a New Big Brother (Amanda Li) - Great books for toddlers that explain the fun and excitement of becoming a big brother or sister. There is even a sound button of a baby giggling.
Exciting times ahead
The arrival of a new baby is an exciting time for everyone involved.
As you go through this next stage as a family, books really are a wonderful way to explore the new situation - and welcome all the fun and challenges of becoming a sister or brother.