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  • Writer's pictureMarine Lienard

Introducing a new sibling to your child

Welcoming a new sibling into your family is a joyous occasion, but it can also be a significant adjustment for your older child. The arrival of a new baby brings changes to routines and dynamics that can be challenging for your firstborn. However, with careful planning and a lot of love and patience, you can help ensure a smooth transition for your child.

A young boy and the family dog welcoming the new sibling

1. Prepare your child in advance

  • Begin talking to your child about the new baby before the birth. Use age-appropriate language and explain what will happen.

  • Read books about becoming a big brother or sister together to help your child understand the concept.

  • Involve your child in preparations for the baby, such as setting up the nursery or choosing baby clothes.

2. Maintain routines

  • Try to keep your child's daily routines as consistent as possible. This will help them feel secure and provide a sense of stability during the transition.

  • If there will be changes in routines, discuss them with your child in advance and explain why they are necessary.

3. Talk about feelings

  • Encourage your child to express their feelings about the new baby. Let them know that it's okay to feel a range of emotions, including excitement, jealousy, or uncertainty.

  • Be a good listener and validate their emotions without judgment.

4. Offer reassurance

  • Reassure your child that your love for them will not diminish with the arrival of the new baby. Explain that love grows and that there's plenty of love for everyone.

  • Spend quality time with your child, doing activities you both enjoy, to reinforce the bond between you.

5. Involve your child

  • When the baby arrives, involve your child in caring for the newborn (under supervision). Simple tasks like fetching diapers or helping with gentle touches can make your child feel included and responsible.

  • Encourage your child to hold the baby under your supervision, emphasising how important and gentle they need to be.

6. Gifts and surprises

  • Consider giving your older child a small gift from the baby as a token of affection. Likewise, encourage your child to give a small gift to the baby.

  • Share special moments and milestones with both children to create positive associations between them.

7. Be patient

  • Understand that your older child may have moments of regression, where they act younger than their age (e.g., wanting a bottle or diapers). Be patient and understanding during these times.

  • Avoid scolding or punishing your child for regressive behaviour. Instead, offer comfort and reassurance.

8. Seek support

  • Lean on your support network, whether it's friends, family, or a parenting group. Sharing your experiences and concerns can provide valuable insights and emotional support.

  • Consider seeking professional help if your child's behaviour becomes consistently challenging.

9. Celebrate sibling bonding

  • As your children grow, celebrate their growing bond. Encourage shared activities and help them build a strong and loving relationship with each other.

Introducing a new sibling to your child is a process that requires time and patience. Every child is unique, so be flexible in your approach and adapt to your child's needs. With open communication, reassurance, and love, you can help your child embrace their role as a big brother or sister and build a loving relationship with their new sibling.

Marine, Mother and Founder of St Pancras Recruitment


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