Kids are much more resilient little critters than we give them credit for, but when it comes to a new addition to your family of three, you might be worried about how your first will react to not being an only child anymore. You’re definitely not alone in that. During my pregnancy with Baby G, I worried a lot about B and her transition. What if she hated her new baby brother? What if she bullied him, or was jealous of all the attention he was getting?
I went in search of help from other two-kid moms I knew. Here are four strategies I used to ease the transition and help B understand how her life was about to change:
Four Strategies for Transitioning to Two Children
1. Have a big brother/sister party: I’ll admit it didn’t have the earth-shattering impact I thought it would, but still, she got a couple of presents and ate cake and ice cream. I think she’d call it a win. Just grandparents and mommy and daddy, no need to make a huge production of it. I ordered a cake and had them put blue icing in the middle, so this made it even more fun for her. She was hoping for pink, but still seemed happy with blue, and like I said, it was cake!
2. Shop for a special toy together: Baby G was entering the world in December, so it made sense for B and I to shop for his very first Christmas present together. She spent most of her time playing with the baby toys on the shelf, but finally settled on one. We took it home and she helped me wrap it up and she placed it neatly under the tree. The idea of her baby brother to opening HER present on Christmas morning was very exciting.
3. Talk openly about the new arrival: It sounds obvious, I know. This pregnancy made me want to crawl under my desk and have a nap, and be quite ok with the filthy 20-year-old carpet under my head. So, engaging my three-year old about how she was feeling about having a new baby brother in her life just seemed like another thing that would keep me from my bed. But I did talk to her, and she talked to me. I asked her questions and she asked me questions. When will the baby come? Mommy’s getting bigger, that means Baby G is growing too. Daily conversations like this became as regular as if he were already there. We even talked to other big sisters we knew and asked them questions. She felt secure about it when he did come, with no big surprises.
4. How Many Mommies Do You Have?: Probably the best “Mommy Hack” my mind has come up with. During one of our conversations, I asked her “How many mommies do you have?” She said “One.” “Right, and how many kids will there be?” “Two,” she said. “Right, so Baby G will need a mommy too. Do you think you can share your mommy with him?” The answer was yes.
*VICTORY DANCE* I am a parenting GENIUS!!!, Right here, that’s right, I’ll be here all week, pick up your autographed copy of my book at the door on your way out. Thank you, goodnight!
Ok, so I’m not a parenting guru, but man, I still felt like a genius. It was something that made sense to her, it was logical, and she could get her head around it. I still use it today, when I’m feeding him and she wants her snack, or whatever. Other factors that made it easier were things like her age. She was three and a half when G was born, so she had a great concept of sharing and boundaries. Now that he’s here, I couldn’t be luckier. She’s so great with him, and as he reaches each milestone, we talk about how he got there and how she’s helped him.
I’m still holding my breath though. He’s not crawling yet. *cringe*
Hope this helps some expectant moms out there, it sure worked with B. Best of luck for a smooth transition!