If you have a young child and are thinking about having another in the near future, considering how your first child will respond to this change is very important. A second child will alter a number of parts of everyone's life, including your first child, and this is a vital area to be thinking about.
At Devlin's Child Development, we're proud to offer a number of child care programs that promote social skills and the ability to co-exist with other children, from daycare and preschool services to after-school care, summer camp programs and more. Our kids learn the kinds of behaviors and skills they need for many such situations, including those where a new sibling is being added to the family. What are a few tactics we might recommend for preparing your young child for this sort of major change? Here's a primer.
One major piece of preparation for a new child is organizing and decorating their room, and you can include your first child in this process. When your first kid feels like they've had a say in choosing the colors and decorations, it will make them feel more comfortable with their future space.
You can even do some fun activities to tie in their existing interests. Your child's new sibling may already have some of his or her favorite toys - include those items in the decoration process. They can create some art or simply be involved by being asked to help out whenever they want to. This is a great way to ease your child into having more people around them, especially since there will be so much "less" of you available.
If this is realistic given your situation, it's often beneficial for your child to spend some time around babies. Having another child around doesn't necessarily mean that they'll be able to do this unsupervised, but there's no harm in trying and it's a great way to get your child more comfortable with the idea of having a new sibling - and with changes in general.
Some children will both enjoy and learn from a setup where, a few months before their new sibling is set to arrive, they are given a doll or other type of baby to "care for." A great way to teach them how to behave around infants, this is also a fun opportunity for you to work on your own responses and behaviors surrounding caregiving. If you want, you can even have your child help with some of the new baby's needs - like picking up some of their toys or bringing you a diaper.
For more on how to prepare a young child for a new sibling in the near future, or to learn about any of our child care programs or services, speak to the staff at Devlin's Child Development today.