We are about 9 weeks away from welcoming a new baby into our household and my daughter has turned into a stage 4 clinger. It's MOM 24-7. I've heard that was normal, but with the changes coming I wanted to do some more research on how to best prepare my little Pie on the new arrival of her brother.
Sharing the Big News
There's no real tried-and-true method for telling a preschooler about a new baby. Think about how far along the due date is as well as the age of your preschooler. Most kiddos don't understand time. I know my almost 3 year old does not! She knows "later" and "tomorrow" but that's about as far as her comprehension. A preschooler who wants to know where a baby comes from is looking for a literal answer. Saying, "Inside mommy's belly," is likely enough. Let your child's questions be your guide.
Remind Her She Was a Baby Once, Too
When digging through baby clothes and gear you’ve put away for another day, I've been sure to ask her if we want to share with the new baby & have been showing her pictures of when she was a baby too! We've pulled out the baby book & Talk about what a cute baby she was and how much fun it will be to have another little one in the house.
Expect a Little Moodiness
It’s perfectly normal for your child to have different feelings about the new baby day by day (or hour by hour). As mommy’s lap begins to get smaller and she can’t bend and pick up an older child, it’s likely that your preschooler may be angry as she feels like her life is being upended. This is a very real struggle in our house now since I am all belly with this baby!!
Don’t Rush Milestones
Are you potty training? Thinking about moving him over to a big-boy bed? You may want to hold off for a little while. We have been focused on this transition around her birthday coming up. She has been out of her crib since she was 18 months, so we don't have to feel like we are displacing her. Instead, we are emphasizing her new bedroom as her "three year old, big sister room". We are using her crib mattress to create a built in window seat/bed that she can grow into as reading nook. She is so excited to participate as Dad is building it!
A good idea for younger preschoolers, try purchasing a baby doll similar in size to a newborn. Let your little one practice holding, changing and feeding her “baby.” Treat it as close to the real thing as realistically possible, taking it for walks in the stroller and even placing it in a car seat as the due date nears. Our little Pie is not a big doll fan, so we have tried this with only little success. She would rather play with her toy banana and sharks.
There is no right way for your child, but it is important to do what you can to ease the transition. Keep your eyes out for part two for more ideas that might work for your kiddos!
Photos of the Black Family
Butternut Blonde, LLC
Lynnwood, WA, US