The Secret to Preparing your Child for a New Sibling

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I was so scared to have a second child.

And one of my biggest fears when I was pregnant with Oliver was how Jack would react. Would he be jealous? Would he regress in potty training, sleeping through the night, etc.? Would he resent us for bringing another little person into our family, when he’s been the center of our world for so long?

I read so many articles about children adjusting to new siblings, and, well, most of them weren’t exactly encouraging. I thought that maybe since he was three, it would be a little easier. But I read article after article saying it was harder the older they got, and the further apart in age they were.

Well, I was determined to prepare Jack was much as we could. I had several people ask me if we were going to tell Jack about me being pregnant, and I was always a little taken back.

Why wouldn’t we?!

The moment I found out I was pregnant with Oliver, we told him and started talking about babies ALL the time.

And the thing that I think prepared him the most?

Daniel Tiger.

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By some miracle, the creators of Daniel Tiger decided to have a baby sister come into his family the August before I got pregnant with Oliver.

Jack was obsessed with it. All of the sudden he wanted a baby. Well,  a baby sister to be specific. He loved watching Daniel’s mom prepare to have a baby, the silly song about Daniel Tiger and his friends as a baby, and he especially loved when Baby Margaret came home.

Ever since he watched that episode, he asked when we were going to have a baby. And when we found out that I was pregnant, with Oliver, he was so, so happy. He would often say, “I’m going to have a baby like Daniel Tiger!”

We would often reference parts of the show – we’d talk about how mommy would go to the hospital to have the baby like his mom dad, how Jack could be a big helper in his family, and how the new baby would be small. Jack would often request to watch the episode (even to this day – he still tells me that he wants me to have another baby and name her Margaret. ha!)

Shortly before Oliver was born, we bought one of the Daniel Tiger books based on the show called Big Brother Daniel. Jack LOVED it. The also have one called The Baby is Here.

Jack jumped into the task of being a big brother from the moment he first saw Oliver (he even tried to share some popcorn with him!) He was so gentle, and when he left the hospital room with my parents, he told me, “I want mommy and baby Oliver to come home with me now!” Hospital-pictures (132 of 179)

He’s never shown any jealousy toward Oliver, and he has just loved him from the beginning. It’s been the most wonderful things to watch. Sometimes I say Jack loves him a little too much (though that’s not really possible, right?) The sweetest thing was when I told Jack that sometimes he could go on a date with just mommy or daddy sometime, and he said, “Well, I want my baby to come, too!”

Forrest and I both really believe that Daniel Tiger is one of the biggest thing that helped prepare Jack for being a big brother. Whenever we talk to people who are worried about having a new baby, we recommend this. Maybe he would have been just fine otherwise, but I think Daniel Tiger definitely helped.

So if you are preparing for a new baby, I highly recommend watching these few episodes. They should be available on Netflix, but if you don’t have Netflix, you can buy the DVD on Amazon.

Other Things We Did

We really did try and prepare Jack as much as possible – by the time Oliver arrived, Jack was so, so excited. For months after Oliver was born, Jack would say, “Oh Oliver. I just waited for you for so long!” And he often still tells Oliver how glad he is that he’s in our family. I mean it when I say Jack is the best big brother ever.

So here are a few other things we did to prepare Jack for a new sibling

Baby Doll: We bought Jack a baby doll for Christmas, before I was even pregnant (but was hoping to be soon.) He loved playing with that little doll, taking care of it, and being so gentle with it. We told him

Talk about babies a lot: This might seem a little self-explanatory, but we really talked about babies ALL the time. It was definitely our #1 topic for quite some time there. We didn’t want Jack to be blindsided by the fact that a baby was coming to our home. By the time I went to the hospital to have Oliver, he really did know that I would be coming home with a baby – and he couldn’t be more excited!

Point babies out: Whenever we went to the store, church, etc., and we saw a baby, we would point him/her out to Jack. We’d talk about how pretty soon we’d have a little baby to bring everywhere with us. After awhile, whenever he saw a baby at the store, he’d go, “Awww, what a cute baby. I can’t wait to bring our baby with us to the store!”

Let them interact with babies: I have a lot of friends and family who have babies, so whenever they were around, we encouraged Jack (with the parent’s permission) to play with the baby, talk with the baby, etc. He loved it!

Big Brother/Sister Books: I already mentioned the Daniel Tiger book, but there are so many great books out there about being a big brother/big sister:

Take them to ultrasound: I had a couple of ultrasounds when I was pregnant with Oliver, and we always took Jack. He came with us to find out whether the baby was a brother or a sister (and he insisted that we were having a baby girl for a little while after, haha.) I had a 3D ultrasound around 30 weeks, and Jack came with us there, as well. It was so fun for him to see the baby in such detail.

Our Secret

 

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