|1. Parents need to bo
emotionally available, and listen with their heart to their
child--acknowledging, accepting, and understanding her feelings.
"You sound annoyed at the idea that a baby is coming. I
understand." There's no need to deny, reject, or try to change
what she feels.
2. Parents need to help their child feel good about herself.
Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, authors of How to Talk so Kids
Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk, write, "Children who
think well of themselves are less likelt to attack their
siblings and more likely to be helpful to them."
3. A mother also needs to work on her own self-esteem and
create positive feeling about her pregancy and upcoming birth.
Your joy and optimism will convey to the child that all is well
in the world.
4. The concept of time is much different to a child than it
is for an adult. Instead of saying the baby is coming in five
months, say the baby is coming sometime around Easter.
5. Talk to the child about the baby. Prepare her for what's
to come. Go see other newborns if possible.
6. Parents can include the child in daily affirmation for the
baby. One mother said aloud with her daughter, "Our baby is
happy, healthy, beautiful, and smart."
7. If you're tired or sick, don't say, "I can't play now,
this pregnancy is giving me morning sickness," because she could
resent the baby even before it is born!
8. As soon as possible after the birth, include the child in
the bonding process. Show her how to have loveing eye-to-eye
contact with the baby and how to hug gently. This will help her
fall in love with the baby. If she's fallen in love with him
she'll be more likely to share and play with him when he is
older rather than fight with him.
9. Get help with meals and housework for the first week or so
if possible. Spend this precious time with the baby and the
child together. On the couch you can nurse, and read a book to
your child. This will help her not feel "dethroned."
10. Children who feel totally and completely loved by the parent
will accept the parent loving someone else--in this case, the
new baby. Be sure your child feels your unconditional love for
her no matter what.
11. This is a great time to encourage, notice, and comment on
the older child's kindness. Say things like, "Valerie, I
appreciate how you brought Ryan his rattle. I'm sure his heart
is smiling from your kindness."
12. Bring "Our baby" into the child's life as much as
possible. Help her to know how we're all familt together and now
we have more love here.
13. Encourage empathy. Say "Oh, listen Leah, Logan is getting
fussy. Let's see what he needs. I wonder if he's hungry. What do
you think?" This will help to devolp he empathy and compassion
for others and help her to learn to ask herself, "How can I
14. This is not the time to enroll her in a day care or
preschool. It would be too easy for her to feel "gotten rid of"
which might lead to aggresion against the parent or the baby.
15. And finally, a word about the family atmosphere. If the
parents are happy with each other and handle their disagreements
respectfully, the children tend to reflect this attitude in
their relationship with each other. ask yourselves, what sort of
family atomsphere are we promoting and modeling?
The love with in families is what we're talking about here.
The preparation we parents can do each time a baby is born can
help ensure the family love will carry on. With a lot of
education and time, we can help our children, bring that love
one day into their future families. Isn't that worth it?