Preparing Older Children for a New Baby.

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Bringing a newborn home can have a major impact on family dynamics. When you bring your first child home, you often think about how to properly care for him. With a second child, you think more about how your first child is doing and how you manage your time.

Knowing how to prepare your firstborn for future changes is key to building a healthy connection between the two. Their age will determine how they respond to these changes.

Age-Related Responses:

• Older children 1 to 2 years: At this age, it is difficult to meet the needs of two children alone. When overwhelming, it's important to get support and rely on those supporters for help. Reading to older children about having a younger brother or sister will help them become familiar with the words and understand what's going on. When the baby arrives, it's good to do something special for your older child to make them feel loved.

• Older children 2 to 4 years old: This age can be difficult because your older child may still be very attached to you. They may struggle with change and often feel threatened by a new baby. Make sure you're honest with them and include them in the plan. When your baby is born, you can expect some regression from your first child, so it may be worthwhile to plan major daily changes for them. At this age, it is important to prepare them for hospitalization. Schedule family and friends to spend time with your older child and your partner. Also, make sure to set aside time to spend with the older child as you adjust to the routine with the baby.

• Older children over 5 years old: If your older child is over 5 years old, they are usually not threatened at birth. They'll still be upset that they don't get attention, so it's important to keep your child up to date on what's going on with your baby. Include them to help you care for your newborn and make sure they feel like they have purpose.

When you have children:

Make sure to introduce the new baby to the older child as soon as possible. Let her come to the hospital to pick her up. Giving an older child the gift of a new sibling can help them feel special instead of bothering with the addition of a family.

If they are unhappy, it could be a sign that they need some attention. try:

• Praise good behavior.

• Ignore bad behavior.

• Give them a job or purpose to help care for the baby.

All of this is part of your older child adjusting to the new family dynamics. Making them feel included and loved takes time, patience, and a lot of support. This will help release any resentment and allow them to deal with any emotions they may be going through.

When all other routines are out of whack, maintaining a sleep routine for older kids offers some comfort. And remember to relax a little. Their whole world has been turned upside down and they usually take 3-6 months to get used to. Be friendly and don't force them to "get along" with their new siblings. As long as you can understand and make time for her. This will reduce the needs and attachments that come with sharing parenthood with the newborn.