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Having told our toddler he’s having a sister I thought I would share some of the tips I have learned for telling your child they’re having a sibling!

I didn’t have a lot of advice for telling my little guy he was having a sibling and as he’s going to be 5 and a half when she’s born I feel like it’s a bigger gap, making it a bit more difficult. When you have just one baby for so long, transitioning to having another can be very hard for you, your significant other, but especially for your first child. I was an only child for 10 years and when you have been an only child for any period of time, it can be hard to face the fact that you have to share your parents (and your stuff) with someone else.
That being said, I don’t think having younger ones makes it any easier because they don’t quite understand things and could get angry or their feelings hurt. As parents, it’s our job to prep them and try to make it as seamless as possible so that they aren’t blindsided when the new baby arrives. So here are some of the things I have learned so far about telling your child they are going to have a sibling!

Don’t Rush It: Tell Them When You Feel is Best:

You know your child the best, after all, you have been there from the beginning. You should tell them about your pregnancy when you feel it is the right time so they can deal with it in the best possible way. Personally, I recommend telling them before your belly starts to grow too much so they can see and fully understand what is happening throughout the entire process but it is entirely up to you and what you think is best for your baby. For us, we told him after our 12-week scan because we had a scan photo to show him something tangible he could see in front of him to help him understand!
 family of four, telling your first child he's having a sibling

Explain Everything: Be Honest

They are bound to have questions, and whether they are big or small you should take them seriously and answer them all as honestly as you can. Our little guy got really hung up on some of the trivial points such as what happens to his toys and will the baby cry a lot, those sorts of things and we answered them all. It is important that he doesn’t feel belittled while he is trying to understand what is going on otherwise he will bottle it up and it can lead to outbursts or bad behaviour.
You also need to be brutally honest about what to expect otherwise they will have illusions of grandeur when the baby arrives. We have explained that babies can cry, are stinky and in the beginning are really boring and fragile so can’t do that much. We also explained you might hear her cry at night and that it is to be expected. Do you remember the shock of being first-time parents? Well, imagine how a toddler is going to feel without all the information!

Prep Them:

There are so many great ways to prepare your child for welcoming a baby sibling into the family. You can find movies for them to watch all about it, or there are hundreds of books out there that you can find to read to them and help them to really understand what is happening. We recently bought (Aff)”There’s a house inside my mummy” and other than one strangely worded page at the back it has been really helpful in trying to explain everything going on and that there really is a baby inside there!
preparing your child for a sibling

Involve Them:

While you may not be allowed to bring them to the doctor or to scans with you, involving them in the process such as name ideas, nursery choices and picking clothes and toys can make them feel more included and integrated into the whole process rather than an outsider who is watching you go through it all. As a pregnant person, we need a lot of support and toddlers can be helpful if you give them the chance! (although sadly we aren’t going with any of the weird name choices he has suggested haha!)
baby scan on sibling

Get Them Excited:

A great way to encourage them is to get them a t-shirt or something of the like that says “big brother” and make sure they also know how much fun having a sibling will be, including playing together and having someone there to watch your back.
It can be nerve-wracking moving from one child to two but you shouldn’t let this reflect on your first child, if they see you are nervous they will be too. As long as they know that they are not any less loved because of another baby then regardless of whether they are having a hard time now, they (and you) will be just fine!
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It's hard to transition from one child to two for everyone, including your first kid! Here are some ways we are preparing our first for a sibling.
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30 comments on “Preparing Your First Child For A Sibling”

  1. I admit I never bothered to prepare my oldest when my second son came and I’m so glad things worked out the way they did. They are great together now but it took a very long time to get them to this point. I’m sure if I had done any of these tips, it would’ve been easier.

  2. I really love this post, It’s important to prepare our toddler for having a new baby, My son was already 3 years old when I gave birth to his brother and he’s so excited

  3. I totally agree that one of the best thing that you can do for the older sibling is to get them involve in the pregnancy and to answer their questions.

  4. It’s always important to gauge them with what’s going to happen when their sibling arrives. We should tell them what to expect and how to deal with it. It’s not going to be easy to adjust because the attention will now be divided, but it’s going to be easier if we do these steps.

  5. We got so lucky with our daughter. She is so loving of her brother and they are so cute together. We told her and she was so involved and still is.

  6. We only have two children and the age gap between our daughters is six years. Prepping big sister for her baby sibling to arrive was scary because we weren’t sure how she would do. Two years later she is the BEST big sister!

  7. Great advice! My daughter is an only child so there won’t be any explaining anything to her lol…. I remember my mom telling us about my sister thiugh when my mom was preggo and my brother was definitely not happy about it lol

  8. I’ll never forget the moment I introduced my son to his little newborn brother. It was such a special moment and it went very well!

  9. I definitely think that involving them is key! When we had our second, my oldest who was just turning 2 at the time, came with me to all of my appointments and loved listening to the baby’s heartbeat. She was very excited when he arrived.

  10. It is very important to prepare the older sibling for the arrival of a new baby. We did that with our older son and it made the transition so much easier.

  11. Those are great ideas. My oldest was 5 years older than the second child, so it was a little bit easier because she was old enough to think that being a big sister was cool!

  12. I never really thought that it is hard to let the older child accept their little baby brother or sister. But still, with your blog, those hardships should be gone by now. But I also have little friends who are even begging for their parents to have one.

  13. These are very helpful tips. It can be hard explaining to a toddler that a new baby is coming home. Involving them and keeping them excited can definitely help.

  14. My eldest became a big sister in less than a year! And now, she’s a great “ate” (big sister in Filipino) to her two siblings. She helps us and she loves it!

  15. These are great tips! I have four children and I remember having my second and preparing my oldest. He was so excited!!

  16. These are great tips! My close friend was having problems with her oldest misbehaving when she got pregnant. I could sense that the oldest was scared she was being replaced. I encouraged her to start including her daughter in the details of the nursery and then letting her make a few changes to her “big girl room” and her whole attitude changed. I know for sure including them works wonders!

  17. Such great ideas and suggestions. I didn’t prepare my oldest very well when his little brother came along and it was kind of a nightmare for a few months.

  18. These are great tips! We kept our toddler involved in doctor’s appointments and watched a lot of shows with characters that had younger siblings. Thank goodness for Daniel Tiger! The transition went well!

  19. I agree it is important to not rush your first child when telling them about the next sibling. They need time to get round to the idea and it is important to be sensitive x

  20. I’m the baby of the family so I never had to prepare for another addition haha. But these are some great tips. I’ll remember them for when we have children! It can be such a difficult time for a first child to adjust to!

  21. My kids are eight years apart but I still had some preparing even though there was a big age gap. That was such a long time ago, I think we did a child life class to help prepare my oldest child .

  22. I totally agree with your points and think that involving them in the process will make it more meaningful and make more sense to them. If its kinda a secret or hidden, that might be a major shock to the system! haha… But, getting them excited, watching movies and more will make it all make sense and make it FUN!

  23. Such a lovely post! I really like the idea of talking it through with your first child as they may feel deprived of all the attention that they may be getting.

  24. It was quite the adjustment going from one child to two. My daughter was almost 4 when my baby was born so she kind of understood what was going on but she still had her jealous moments. I found that doing things special with just her helped a lot so she would still get attention that she needs

  25. My son was 3 years and 13 days old when his brother was born. He was super excited to be my little helper.

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