5 Ways to Prepare Your Child To Be a Big Brother/Sister
Are you a pregnant mom who is looking for resources that would help your older child prepare to be an older sibling? Or did you just give birth recently or a few months ago to a new baby and you need help in assuring your older child that your love for him/her remains the same?
I was interviewed earlier at DZMM’s radio show Good Vibes by Nina Corpuz and Mike Leviste. The topic was how parents can help their older children prepare for the coming of a new baby. The interview was a bit short due to time constraints so I’ve decided to share more about the topic here on my blog.
Here are 5 ways that can help prepare an older sibling for a new baby in the family.
1. Stop calling the child “baby”. Call the child Kuya or Ate or whatever you use in your household. We used to call our second child “baby”. But when we got confirmation from my ob-gynecologist that I’m pregnant again, we started calling our second child by his first name. I also instructed our maids at that time to stop calling him a baby. Instead, we made him proud to be called a big brother or “kuya“.
You can even buy your child a Big Brother or Big Sister shirt. That could help him or her to become proud of his new role. You can also buy a onesie for the baby and take photos of them. You can find these kinds of merchandise here on our online shop.
2. Deliberately spend more quality time with the older child/children. This is one way to make deposits in your child’s emotional bank account in preparation for the times when you will be away from him/her. During my previous pregnancies, I did my best to spend as much time as I possibly can to do arts and crafts with them and to have dates with them. Even when I was on bedrest and after giving birth, I would regularly read aloud books to them. This poem/story was one of those that I read to them.
I suggest that you schedule a minimum of once a month dates with each of your children. To help me do that, I designate the date of their birthdays as my one-on-one date with my children. For example, my date with my eldest is on the 15th of each month because his birthday is October 15. My date with my second child is every 19th of the month. If you can have a date with your child once a week, that would be great. But my suggestion is a minimum of once a month.
You might think that these dates would make a big dent in your budget but that actually depends on you. These one-on-one dates could be simple and cheap as long as you do something that your child likes.
Let me give some examples. You can have a cookies-and-milk date in your balcony or garden or at home. It can also be in your child’s bedroom after reading some of his favorite books. You can also bond by walking around your neighborhood, doing some art and craft projects or malling where you just window shop for toys.
My dates with my sons are usually simple and affordable. We usually just have a snack like pastry, bread, pizza, donut or ice cream. Sometimes, we go to fast-food chains. Other times, I let them enjoy kiddie rides at nearby malls. A lot of times, we go to the bookstore. When they accomplish a milestone or finish a book/curriculum, I sometimes buy them a small reward from the department store.
My husband usually bond with our sons through sports or watching videos and movies. It would be great if you can involve your husband in preparing the older kid/s for the coming of the new baby and when the new baby comes. I asked my husband to spend more time with our older children when I gave birth to our younger children so that the older child/children do not feel left out.
3. Give your child/children ideas on how they can bond with you while you are pregnant and with their baby brother while still in your womb and after you give birth. Aside from suggesting to my kids what they can do, I let them come up with their own ideas on how they can help me take care of their baby brother. You’ll be amazed at how loving and helpful kids are!
Since my kids were musically-inclined, they liked singing songs to our baby or making music by playing musical instruments. They did these even while I was pregnant. My second child would sing songs from their musical Beauty and the Beast to me during my third pregnancy. My eldest who plays the piano even learned to play a lullaby out of love for his baby brother.
After I gave birth, they were eager to help out and be involved by assisting in diaper changes or giving me water and pillows when breastfeeding the baby. Sometimes, they would even massage my back. They also liked reading books to the baby and talking to him or playing with him. My boys were so sweet! That’s why they were my inspirations in writing my children’s book Mommy Loves You Just the Same.
4. Make their birthday before you give birth extra special. On their last birthday before becoming a big brother, I always go out of my way to make these celebrations memorable. I want these events to help make them feel important and special. You may read about my second child’s birthday party here. If you don’t want to throw a party, you can get some ideas here in my other blog post wherein we had a simple celebration for our eldest son.
5. Buy a children’s book that will help you assure your child that your love remains the same and teach your child how he/she can help as a big brother/sister. A book is a simple but powerful tool that you can use to assure your child that you still love him/her. It’s hard to go out on dates with your child every day. But you can read a book to your child at least once daily. A book is also not as costly as going out on dates.
Mommy Loves You Just the Same perfectly addresses these concerns/issues. It helps you assure your child repeatedly of your unchanging love because these words are part of the text of the story. You will not find it hard to teach your older child how to help as an older sibling because the child in the story does many things to help his mom and his baby brother. I really designed this book that way because the previous big brother book that I used when my eldest became a big brother didn’t have those assuring words. Thus, I decided to write a poem and eventually turned it into a children’s book.
This book has already helped many families adjust to their new normal. below are some testimonials from moms who have read it and used it to help their older kids transition into becoming big brothers/sisters.