Introducing Your Children To Their New Sibling: How To Reassure Them

Introducing your children to a new sibling can be exciting. However, you might have some concerns about the best way to do this and reassure any worries your little ones could have.


new sibling


Preparing Your Children For A New Sibling

Some children can be very excited about the news of a baby sibling. Others may be feeling a little more unsure about the idea. It can be a huge event for a child to become a big brother or sister, and toddlers may struggle. Some children may feel as though they are being pushed out or forgotten about.

It’s important to remember that it may take time for children to adjust to a new sibling, but a positive relationship will develop between them.


When To Tell Children About Your Pregnancy

How, when and what to tell children about your pregnancy depends on your personal feelings, and the age of your child. Some people recommend broaching the topic of a new baby reasonably early into the pregnancy, between four- and six-months gestation.

Younger children may struggle with the concept of having to wait for the baby to be born, so perhaps relate your baby’s birth to any special event that is familiar for your toddler. For example, if you’re due around Easter, use that as a timeframe for your little one.

Older children may have more questions, such as where the new baby came from, and how will it get out. Simple, age-appropriate explanations are best when it comes to these sorts of questions.


Preparing For The New Baby

Preparing your children for the arrival of a new baby sibling can help make the experience positive and exciting for them. Before your baby is born, these tips can help your children prepare and understand what is happening.

  • Read stories about babies, or books where the character has a new baby sibling
  • Let your children touch your baby bump to feel their new sibling kicking. Some children may not want to do this, and that’s ok too. You may even be able to bring your older children to an appointment so they can hear the baby’s heartbeat.
  • Look at baby pictures of your older children with them. Talk to them about how small they were as a baby, and how your family changed when they arrived. Talk about how the new baby means that your family is growing.
  • Talk to your children about what they’re looking forward to about the new baby. If they have any worries, you can discuss them. Offer reassurance but try to focus on the positives. Give them plenty of cuddles and let them know that you will always love them.
  • Let your children get involved in the practical side of having a new baby sibling. Let them help pick out baby items, help decorate the nursery, and involve them in your pregnancy announcement.
  • Talk to your children about how the baby will be its own person and will have its own needs. Explain that it will be small, and sleep a lot to begin with, but eventually, they’ll be able to play together.
  • If you have an only child, see if you can spend time with family and friends who have newborns. This can help them understand the care that a baby needs.
  • Enrol your children in a playgroup or other social group, so that they can develop their social skills. This can also give them something that is just theirs and isn’t about the new baby. Allow them to keep attending even after the new baby has arrived.
  • If your child has other big changes on the horizon, such as toilet training, or moving to a big bed, either start before the baby arrives, or leave them until a while afterwards. Make sure there’s enough time so your child doesn’t think that they only have to make these changes because there’s a new baby.


Preparing Your Children For Labour And Birth Of A New Sibling


Some parents wonder how to include their children in the birth of a new baby. For some this can mean opting for a home birth.


Home Birth

One of the things that many parents like about home births is that their older children can be involved as well. If this is something that you would like for your labour and delivery, there are some things you need to consider.

You need to think about the age of your children, and how you would like to explain what’s happening. You also need to think about your child’s personality, and if this is something they are comfortable with. You need to be comfortable with it as well. It’s your labour so your comfort is paramount.


Hospital Birth

You need to prepare your children if you’re planning to give birth in hospital. Here are some tips to help:

  • Make a plan for who will be looking after your children while you’re in the hospital and tell your children who they will be with. You may want to encourage your children to spend some time with the planned caregiver to help them get acclimatised to the idea.
  • As far as possible, keep routines the same. Routine helps children to feel secure, and if they are feeling some upheaval over a new sibling, routines may help to reassure them.
  • Print some family photos or make a photo scrapbook for your children to keep with them while you’re in the hospital.
  • Keep in contact with your children whilst you’re in hospital. Make sure that you call them and make time for them to visit.
  • When your children visit, take time to make your children feel special. It can help if the new baby is in a cot or crib when they visit, rather than you holding them. Let your children interact with the baby on their own terms.


Bringing Your New Baby Home

Bringing your new baby home is a big step, and there a few things you can do that may make the transition easier.

One to one time with older children is so important. Make sure that you make time for them when you can. Set aside time to spend with them, perhaps doing something together.

Keep as many of your child’s routines as normal as possible. If you read a bedtime story on the sofa together, keep doing that. If you make breakfast together, keep doing it. Whatever special thing you have with your child, keep doing it. It can be difficult with a new baby, but it can help reassure your older children about their place in the family.

Help your older children to pick out a gift for them to give to the new baby, but also bring a gift for their new sibling to give to the older siblings. You could also encourage any friends and relatives visiting the baby not to forget about the older children and to bring something small for them too.