Tuesday, March 7, 2017

5 things for a Big Sibling-to-be to know before new baby arrives

The challenges that come along with becoming a big brother and sister are so real.
One day, Daddy and Mummy shared a big news about having a new baby in time to come. And, this brought about great excitement and fantasy to the big brother or sister-to-be. Then, the excitement gradually changed into a seemingly long period of waiting and changes. Suddenly, Mummy got rounder, tired easily, couldn't carry or run around with him or her and the list goes on. Things then got more challenging when baby arrives. Depending on the age, gender, personality and various factors surrounding the child, he or she might cope with it very differently.

5 things for a Big Sibling-to-be to know before new baby arrives

As a big sister-to-be, there are lots for Emma to learn and adapt in her new role. Thus, I've been spending more time talking to Emma about being a big sister and helping her understand what lies ahead. I doubt she can be fully prepared for the new baby at 4 years old, but I pray that she can embrace her new role with lesser difficulties by knowing and keeping these 5 things close to her heart. While these might be harder to younger children to understand, I believe the little ones will understand bits and pieces of it over time.


1. We are a family

After 3+ years of living of as a family of 3, it's not hard to see why a new addition will bring a tinge of doubt and jealously. So, I find it especially important to let Emma see the 4 of us as a family rather than having the new baby to take her dearest parents away from her.
I believe doing things as a family and involving Emma help to instill the family bond over time. So far, we have been bringing Emma along for the gynae visits. And, I'm also thinking to get some family tees for the 4 of us!
I read somewhere and thought it is a good idea to let Hubby introduce the new baby to the older child at the nursery and getting her to "introduce" her young sibling to the Mummy/family at the ward. We are also planning to let the two sisters exchange gifts.

2. Baby takes time to grow and learn

It would be great if baby gets out and ready to play with her like she wants to. Unfortunately, things don't happen that way.

To set her expectation right, I kept on stressing to Emma that baby will take time to grow and learn like how she did when she was young. We need to help and teach our baby. We read books about what crazy things baby does, looked through her old baby videos/photos countless times and role-played.

I also shared that baby's only way of communication is crying and what are the many reasons baby cries. She saw babies around in her school and church, we talked about how they behave. She seems to understand that baby can't crawl, walk and talk like her. Once a while, she'd also claimed some "responsibility" to take care and teach her younger sister.

3. She is a big sister

It's hard for a 4 year old to understand what's her role and our expectations as a big sister. But it won't go too wrong to share about what things big sister could do, eg. be good example to sister, protect her sister, patting, coaxing crying baby and such. It sets some expectations for her and keeps her thinking about helping to take care of the baby.
It's has been a privilege and blessing to be a big sister. As a big sister, I only started to really love and take care of my younger brother when I was in late primary school. Now, we take care of each other.  There's certainly still a long way for both of them to figure out their sisterly relationship!

4. She is still learning and growing too!

Sometimes, Emma forgot that she's still a growing toddler. She loves to claim that she has grown up and wants to do things that we adults are doing. Then, she got upset when things don't go her way. Once a while, I have to remind her that she is still learning and growing too. She needs to remember and understand that she is learning how to love, care, give, share, be patient and be independent. Failing and making mistakes are all parts of learning and growing. Similarly, we also need to always remind ourselves that she's still learning too and not be overly harsh and impatient to her.
I foresee lots of time spent nursing and taking care of baby for the first year but I hope to set aside some quality with her as well. On tired days, I have to remind myself to give her extra hugs and kisses just to assure her that she is doing fine.

5. Daddy and Mummy are learning and growing as well!!

This last point would probably be the most difficult point for Emma to understand. Somehow, children have such complete trust in parents' capability and it's definitely the last things on their mind that their parents are still learning and growing like them.
To be fair to us, it will be our first time as a parents to 2 children and there are lots for us to learn as well. Some parenting hacks still stick around with us, but we have actually forgotten many. There will be times we make mistakes and stumble, and we also need some patience and understanding from Emma. It is important for Emma to know that it's alright to fail as long as we learn from our weaknesses and mistakes. We are a family and we will pull through together. I hope it helps when we open up and pray about our family and parenting challenges as a family.


Regardless of how things might turn out after the baby's arrival, I know it will be a long learning journey for Emma (and us). There are surely more than these 5 things above for Emma to learn but we shall work on these for now!
What was your experience with a new baby? Do feel free to share any tips!


This blog is in collaboration with Friso.

Kids learn from experiences whether big or small, good or bad. That's why Friso provides the right nutrition for your child to be strong inside to take on challenges.

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