- Tell Mate. Check!
- Tell bestie. Check.
- Tell parents. (Braces self) Check.
- Tell monster-in-law. Ugh. Check.
- Tell children. Shoot me now.
Precisely how do you tell your children there is a (or another) sibling on the way?”
Age appropriate information is the only way.
Toddlers have a grasp of language, knowledge of the word “baby” and curiosity. Waiting until mom begins to show she is pregnant is best. Toddlers do not have the patience to conceptualize a week, much less nine months. If you can wait until toddler asks about the bump, that is even better.
If toddler overhears baby conversation, explain it in terms he understands. Give him his own calendar to mark days until baby arrives. This will help him cope with the waiting.
Engage him in nursery preparation. Here is your perfect chance to set boundaries between what is his and what is baby’s. You are heading jealousy off at the pass and elevating his status from “baby” to “big helper”.
Elementary school aged children grasp the concept of the baby inside. Even ones too small to be introduced the all the gory details of reproduction need to understand mom’s fatigue, lack of balance and waffle brain. Explain that “carrying” the baby around causes this.
Explain this is not a replacement child. Her place in the family is secure. Baby will be someone else who will adore her…especially if she has specific duties to help prepare and care for baby.
The 10-12 year old is complex enough without adding baby to the mix. If he is not already well-informed, this is the perfect opportunity to discuss from whence babies come and the dangers involved.
With the identity malaise of being a tween, he will need a little extra attention to settle on the fact you are not trying again to get it right. Spend extra one-on-one time doing what is important to him. It is essential for maintaining harmony and reinforcing the fact he is great the way he is.
Let that sink in for a moment. This breed of pseudo-adult is just as moody about pregnancy as she is about everything else. Do not wait to tell your teen. Insert her between the bestie and your parents. It may take her as long as you are pregnant to acclimate to the idea.
Revisit (often) how important she is in the family: Not just as a built-in babysitter, but as a sibling and nearly adult member of the family.
The Big Kids
Dreading telling your adult children you are expecting their younger sibling? Tell your adult child as soon as you find out. This is not the time to create trust issues.
It is, however, the best time to discussing parenting psychology, discussing life goals and real-time teaching of life skills.
It is all good.
Babies are a family event. Share the news. If not thrilled at first, they will love the new baby from the first time they hold it!
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2007-2011
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