Telling Your Child about Arrival of New Baby
It is essential to prepare your child for the arrival of a new baby. If you don’t give sufficient time to appropriate preparation, your child may act start acting out. This could be due to a feeling of jealousy or simply feeling overwhelmed.
Preparing your child for a new baby starts during your pregnancy. Exactly what and how you tell your child depends on his or age or maturity level. It would be hard for a child not yet in school to understand time. In such a case it may be best to disclose the new baby will arrive in autumn, winter, spring or summer.
All young children usually want to know where the baby comes from. This question does not mean you have to bring the act of sex into the picture. A young child is usually satisfied to know the new baby will come from the uterus that is in mummy’s tummy.
During your pregnancy is a good time to look through your child’s baby photographs. Seeing himself or herself as a baby makes it easier to grasp the concept of a new baby in the family. You can explain how you cared for your child i.e. feeds, diaper changes, winding, bathing, sleep and play.
It does help your child to be included but not to such an extent your child will feel pressurized or begin to fell anxiety. Some children worry about their mum having to go to the doctor or go into hospital. It is very important for you child to understand pregnancy and giving birth is not an illness but natural.
Take your child to one of your appointments so that he or she can meet your doctor. Allow him or her to listen to the baby’s heartbeat. It also helps your child to feel included and more in control if he or she helps you pack the bag you will take to the hospital.
You and your partner must realize it’s very unsettling for a child of any age to know mum has to go away. Make sure your child knows exactly where he or she will be during that time. Usually grandparents fill the gap and come to stay. Children regard a visit from granny and grandpa as something to look forward to. No matter who will be caring for your child, encourage him or her to discuss the visit with that person.
Your child will feel more settled if you let him or her know they can visit you in hospital after the baby is born.
If your child is a toddler or pre-schooler then don’t keep going on about your child being the big brother or sister. Simply let your child grow into this new role at a pace that is natural.