I think this is one of the biggest questions parents have when they are expecting their second, or subsequent children!
How do I explain to my two-year-old that this little baby is going to living with us? They aren't going to visit and then live somewhere else. They aren't saying in mama's tummy forever.
My daughter was just shy of 3 when Micah was born. She was the first grandchild on my side and the first granddaughter and the only local grandchild on my husband's. I also have a living grandmother, plus a myriad of aunts and uncles, cousins, and very close friends. To say that Myla was the center of the universe is an understatement. To say that she loved it like that is an even larger understatement. I was so worried about her making the transition to big sister.
I'm no psychologist or expert here so I can only speak on my own experience. There are 3 specific things I remember doing that I think helped make that transition.
1) While I was pregnant she spent a lot of time with other family members. This wasn't really intentional but I was very sick with Micah, I suspect undiagnosed HG, and she spent a good portion of her time with family. I think this eased the fact that we were going from just her and me in our little bubble to seeing there's a larger world out there and mommy is always there when she gets back!
2) We read a lot of books about families and spent time with other families that had little siblings. I love books because it's such an easy way for kids to put themselves in a situation and see how it might feel. Even a child as young as 2 or 3 can do this! It's pretty incredible. One of our very favorites for this was Maple by Lori Nichols. It's a very sweet story.
3) Myla stayed with my in laws while I was in the hospital. They got to our house before us and I went inside first to see Myla, it had been a couple days and since there was a bad flu that year she was unable to come to the hospital to meet him, we sat on the couch and snuggled. We talked about her new little brother and she kept asking "Where's Micah? Where's my brother?" so after a minute or two I had my husband bring him in. I think this was a very gentle way to introduce him to her and even added a bit of excitement. We have the sweetest video of her looking out our side door saying "My brother! My brother!"
She ended up transitioning so smoothly. I do think it helped that she was closer to 3 than 2 so a little more understanding and reasonable. She was a pretty good little helper too! But don't get me wrong, she loved to get one on one time with people and when he was around 8 months old she asked if we could sell him at our yard sale... So it wasn't perfect.
But that's motherhood, #amiright?
Tell me, do you have any tips for prepping older siblings or making those introductions?
"The moment a child is born, a mother is born also."