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Preparing an older sibling for the new baby

I hope you enjoy the start of a second interview on the topic of "life with two!". Lisa of Nalaville Chronicles has kindly shared some of her experiences, and I will be sharing more of her thoughts with you in future posts.

Please tell us a little bit about your family.

My husband, Nathaniel, and I have been married for 4 years. We have 2 children, Abraham (nearly 3) and Abigail (nearly 1).

I’m currently a stay-at-home mom and my husband works in a technology field. We purchased our first house just over 1 year ago and are enjoying the benefits and challenges of home ownership. We are involved in a local church and lead an inter-generational small group. We praise God everyday for providing for us and we look forward to whatever he has for us.

Do you think it is possible to prepare an 18 month old for the arrival of a baby brother or sister?

Most definitely—at least as much as anyone else in the family can be! By 18 months of age most children start having conscious, long-lasting memories. Because of this, familiarizing your child with your belly and baby inside is quite easy, though their conception of what that means will vary from child to child.

When I was expecting Abigail, we made sure to frequently bring up the topic of “baby in Mommy’s tummy.” Just as life changed drastically for Nathaniel and me when Abigail entered our family, it changed for Abraham too, but he knew that a change was coming and that eased the transition.

To help him grasp this change, we would:
~ Play “Where’s the baby?”: We would ask Abraham, “Where’s the baby?” and then we would point to my tummy. He caught on pretty quickly and was soon happy to show off that he knew where the baby was!
~ Make introductions: Whenever we saw a baby in another family, we would take the chance to introduce Abraham to the baby and help him say hi very gently (with the parent’s permission, of course) and say, “We’re going to have a baby soon too!”
~ Teach about family relationships: We started pointing out sibling relationships in other families.
~ Pray: We prayed together as a family for the baby and for Abraham’s relationship with his new baby sibling.
~ Share the plan: As the time of delivery approached, we made sure to talk over the plans with Abraham about how when the baby arrived, Mommy and Daddy would be going to the hospital and Abraham would get to be with Grandma and Grandpa for a couple of days.
~ Visiting: We made sure that when we were in the hospital Abraham came to visit a couple of times.

We also made an effort to show Abraham that he was still just as valuable in our family even though it was growing, but we didn’t go over the top with this because we didn’t want to put negative ideas in his head. We talked about how God was blessing our family with another member and how that made us excited.

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