Families grow in different and exciting ways, whether through the birth of a new baby, adoption, or the joining together of families. However your family grows, welcoming a new family member always means some changes, and it can be hard for your child to imagine what life will be like after a new sibling comes. Help your family prepare for, adjust to, and embrace the changes with these ideas:
Talk it Through
There’s no one right way to feel about getting a sibling: some days you’ll find your girl excited and daydreaming about the fun she’ll have with her new sib, and some days she’ll be worried without even knowing why. Reassure her that it is normal to feel excited, happy, AND nervous. Encourage her to ask questions. Talk about what will change, and what won’t—like the fact that you love her as much as ever, and her special place in your family will never change.
Invite your girl to be a part of the preparations! Work together to find a fun way to announce the big news to your family and friends. Let her lend her own interests and talents to preparing for your new family member. Does she like to shop? Ask her along to pick out clothes, supplies, or something special to welcome her new sibling. If she likes to craft, ask her to create a piece of artwork for her new sib’s room. No matter what she likes to do, there’s sure to be a way she can use her talents to get ready.
Be mindful that all the planning and preparation that is necessary for welcoming a new family member concentrates the focus on him or her, and all that attention may leave your girl feeling a little displaced or forgotten. Take some time to notice her for her own merits. Appreciate what makes her who she is. Help her think about how she sees herself. Listen to her about how she wants you, and other members of the family, to see her. Acknowledge that while her role as a sibling may shift—say, from being the “youngest child” to being a “middle child” and “older sister”—recognize her strengths, interests, and qualities beyond her role as a sibling, too.
Look for simple ways to stay connected to your girl. Grab a quick hug. Work together on a chore and take advantage of the chance to talk. Schedule something you love to do together, like going to the library, taking a bike ride, or watching a favorite show—any little thing that reminds her that you are there for her, now and always.