As parents, I think we tend to stress about every.single.thing. being perfect. Like, all the time. For some things, it’s totally irrational (i.e. my kiddo’s first birthday party, which they surely wont remember). For others, though, it kind of makes sense. The decision to add another child to your family is a big decision that comes with a lot of change for every family member, including the littlest ones.
Personal experience and chatting with a lot of seasoned mamas has landed me here: ready to prep you with the top 5 tips for prepping for a second baby. Pregnant? Considering another babe? Read on, mama, read on…
Prepare yourself: Good Reads
My current M.O. is to read the first 1/4-1/2 of parenting books and then never have the time to pick them up again. However!! Pre-baby #2, I found myself with a lot more “free-time”. One way I spent that time was reading up on raising siblings. Two of my favorites are: Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life by Dr. Laura Markham (linked below). Both books are fairly easy reads, providing real scenarios and practical advice for handling the ever-changing dynamic of two (or more!).
Prepare your kiddo(s): Good Reads
Reading to your children is always a good idea, so making it engaging and relevant to real-life is even more of a #momwin. We started reading “big sibling” books as soon as we found out we were expecting, but the right time will be different for everyone. My advice: start as early as possible and provide a lot of time for discussion and open dialogue. Some tried and true favorite sibling books are linked below.
Indulge your child’s narcissistic-side
Let’s be honest, kids are super narcissistic. They can’t help it; they’re ego-centric by design. Their sweet little brains are just at that stage of development. Use this to your advantage! Explain to your little how much their little brother or sister will look up to them, how “cool” they will think they are, how much they can teach them. Play up the fact that big brother/sister will be a hero and a role model for the new baby. A lot of mamas gave this advice and I think it STILL works well for us, a year into sibling life.
Create a big brother/big sister “tool kit”
Another thing we know about little kids, most of them LOVE to be helpers. They may not directly say it, but they love to please you and get reassurance from you “needing” them to help you with a task. You can create a big brother or big sister “tool kit” with items such as diapers, wipes, baby toys/books, extra onesies, and a soft baby brush. By keeping the kit in an easy-to-access area, your older sibling can be a part of the process. It isn’t even about really NEEDING what you ask them for, it’s more about involving them.
and last, but not least:
Our energy is contagious and children feed off of the vibes around them. The more positive and excited you can be, the more excited your child will be. Talk with your child about how thrilling this change will be for your family. Just think: another birthday party with cake each year, a friend to play with 24/7, a companion on long car rides! Your positivity will rub off on your kiddos, as long as you remember to include them in the “new” family vision.
Bonus tip (because the top 6 tips wasn’t as catchy as 5): create a ritual or routine that is special to you and your kiddo. Whether its breakfast, bath time, or bed time, create a time that your child knows will be dedicated solely to them. There will be so much time that will be undeniably shared, so creating this special one-on-one time will be something you can both look forward to.
Books for Mama (and Dad, too!)
Books for Kiddos
At the end of the day, deciding to grow your family can be both nerve-wracking and thrilling. Somedays, it will be really hard, but other days, it will feel exactly like you had dreamed. Remember to keep the conversation flowing, the dialogue open, and load your chats with positive vibes.
Good luck, mama, you’ve got this!