Introducing a new baby to your child can be difficult, especially when the older child's gotten used to being the center of your universe. But if you're careful and prepare them for it -- and are prepared as well -- then it can be a breeze, and fun too. Helping them bond in small ways can cultivate a relationship that lasts well into the years, and can be the foundation for wonderful family rapport. Here are some ways you can introduce your new baby to your older child:
Prepare him while you're pregnant. Let him know that you're expecting about halfway through the pregnancy. You could connect it to a holiday or an important date, or even his birthday. For example, tell him he'll soon have a brother/sister just in time for Christmas!
Remember that children under three are egocentric. Up to this point, it's been all about him! He's been your world, and now he has to share you. This can cause anxiety in a child so be prepared for some regression or a tantrum or two when the little one shows up. Be sympathetic to his needs and help him feel just as important as your new addition to the family.
Be inclusive. The shock of having a new sibling won't be too difficult if early on, you include him in the process. Bring him to doctor's checkups, show him ultrasound pictures, and ask him to help in naming the baby. He'll even be excited for his new sib!
Visiting hours. When you're at the hospital, after you've given birth, encourage him to visit with other relatives so that he meets the baby and starts warming up to him/her early. Make your homecoming a fun event that he can partake in.
Spread the love. Make sure you're meeting his emotional needs at this time. Praise him for being a good kuya and ask him to do little tasks that can further the bond between them and help him feel involved. Teach him how to change a diaper or even something as simple as handing you some baby wipes. He'll be much more amicable if he's part of the process of caring for the baby.
Tag-team! Make sure your partner helps in carrying the load. If you're busy with the baby, see to it that your partner is attending to your other child's needs and makes him feel loved.