Getting pregnancy the second time around is 100% different. There is less anxiety and questioning of what is going on; however, being that you already have a child there is a new set of challenges when it comes to explaining the arrival of the new baby and your child'??s new role as a big brother or sister. Here are some tips to ease this transition and help your little guy or gal feel special with their very important role in your expanding family.'?¨'?¨
1. Books. It is amazing how much children and toddlers retain from what you read to them. I'??ve found this to be particularly helpful during potty training and transiting to a big kid bed. No matter how many times you read them (and it will be a lot) kids love seeing pictures and hearing stories about kids just like them. I love the I'??m a Big Sister/Brother series by Joanna Cole that shows how special the big sister or brother is to the new baby and Usborne First Experiences The New Baby By Anne Civardi that helps older children get excited about the new arrival. Other favorites: The Bernstain Bear'??s New Baby and Waiting for Baby by Rachel Fuller
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2. Belly play. Older kids will notice your growing belly but even toddlers can understand that a bigger belly means a new brother or sister in your family. For my daughter, I like to say '??the baby is growing'? or '??do you want to talk to your brother or sister?'? so she can connect with what is happening. We also like to rub my belly, listen to my stomach for kicking, sing to the baby or say '??hi'?? during the day. I'??ve found this really helpful and now my daughter even says '??I love the baby!'? Experts say starting this connection will help the child understand the growth process and connect them to what is going on with your body.
3. Practice holding the baby. If your child has a baby doll or teddy bear, try practicing holding the baby with them so that can feel mature and responsible. Although you will always be right next to your new baby if your child or toddler holds him or her, it is important that your child understands how sensitive a newborn is and that holding a baby is a big deal. You can also pretend to feed the doll or teddy bear and change its diaper (who doesn'??t love some help with that!).
4. Shop for the baby. Most likely you will have a lot of stuff from your first, but depending on the timeline of your last child and level of stains you may want to pick out some new outfits for your new baby. If your child is old enough, have them go with you to pick out one special present from the big brother/sister to their new little one. Also, while your shopping you may want to get an '??I'??m a big sister or I'??m a big brother shirt'? so that they can show off their new role with pride.
5. Picture time. Show your child pictures of what they looked like when they were a baby '?? them sleeping, eating for the first time, running around, etc. You can also say since you are a big boy or girl, you will teach the baby how do all of those things. They will love the concept that they can teach the baby something when he or she is older.
6. Special day for the big one. Just like it was for your first, everyone will be excited to meet the new baby. In order to make your older one feel special try to have a special day with them where you go have a pizza date or a museum '?? whatever it is, make sure your big kid gets to plan the big day and focus just on them. If things are too hectic in the beginning, you may want to see if a grandparent or friend can go on a special outing with your child.
Serena Norr is a NYC-based writer/editor, soup-maker, a mama to a toddler and a now pregnant mama with her second child. You can read more soup recipes on her blog: seriouslysoupy.blogspot.com.