The Local Moms Network is growing, with several of our moms—including Stamford Moms, Hyde Park Moms and Mendham Moms—adding to their families. This week, Melissa DeSanti of Mendham Moms shared how she’s preparing her older children Georgia (3.5) and Freddie (2). “While we are so excited to expand our family, it’s really important that our older children are as prepared to welcome the baby as mom and dad are,” says Melissa. Here are her tips for getting little ones ready for a new sibling:
Tell Them at the Right Time
It’s important to tell your child(ren) that they are going to be a big brother or sister, but timing is always important. Make sure you’re far enough along in your pregnancy for the big announcement so you don’t have additional questions you may not want to answer.
Show and Tell
My kids were excited to see the ultrasound pictures — especially the 3D ones where you could really see the baby’s face! We sat them down and together we pointed out the head and the hands and nose so they knew exactly what they were looking at.
Participate in the Preparation Process
Being included in the prep work for baby’s arrival shows your children that we are all one unit. Our daughter helped get her old clothes sorted and put away in the baby’s room and helped us get the crib “set up” with her old bedding. Our son loves to help with the dishes – so adding the baby’s bottles was his big job! (This is also helping him transition from drinking out of bottles to “big brother” cups.)
Get Them Excited
Every child loves a little “surprise” so we got them new “Big Sister” and “Big Brother” shirts to get them excited for the baby’s arrival—it’s like a badge of honor for them to wear. Our daughter also loves to wear matching outfits, so we let her pick out a special new dress and matching one for the baby! She was over the moon telling the sales woman that she was “buying it herself” for her new baby sister!
Talk to Them
Even though our kids are young, they understand a lot more than we sometimes give them credit for. We like to talk about the baby a lot. Who is going to help feed her or hold her, who is going to help mommy get the diapers, and who is going to help sing to the baby to get her to go to sleep. All the little “jobs” that may not seem important to you, are important to your child to be a part of the baby’s life and to feel included.
Have Lots of Family Time
We are so excited to welcome the baby, but we also know the importance of family time and getting in lots of snuggles with our big guys now. We try to either do things a few times a week as a whole family together or to make it individualized “special Georgia or Freddie time” one on one. These special moments don’t have to be big events either—taking our son to the car wash or our daughter to get her nails done are perfect examples of little moments that make a big impact. It’s also a good idea that not all the moments are “mommy and me”. It’s really important that our kids get a lot of dad time in before the baby’s arrival so it doesn’t give them the impression that the baby is taking mommy away.
This story first appeared on our parent site, The Local Moms Network.