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New Here- How to include 4 year old step child in preparing for new baby?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
My husband and I have a 4 year old step-daughter. She does not live with us, but she sleeps at out home one day a week, every other week and we also have her on alternating weekends for full days.
My question is: How do we break the news? We want to give her time to adjust to the situation and also, she will be sharing a bedroom with the new baby. Luckily her favorite color is green so the paint change won't be hard. We want her to be a part of planning and a part of the new baby's life as much as possible.
We haven't told her mother yet either, which is a whole other conversation as we think she is going to have a meltdown when she hears.
Does anyone have advice on how to include the 4 year old in planning and preparation? Does anyone know of any kids books out there that could help ease her into the situation.
Thanks in advance!
K
post #2 of 5
Congratulations!

You could check you local library in the children's non-fiction area. I know they have books on becoming a step-child or welcoming a step-parent into the family. So, maybe there will be books about welcoming a new baby.

If I were in your situation I would tell the mother first. She'd probably be a bigger mess is DD came home and said "Daddy and SM are having a baby!!!". Maybe your husband could talk to the mother about being positive around the child about the baby. Even if she becomes upset about the pregnancy she shouldn't express it around DD because that could change DD's view on the new baby. I was 8 when my dad and SM became pregnant. I was thrilled and so was my mom. Later I found out that my mom was a little heartbroken but she acted in the right way to support me. My mom loves my half sisters so much now. We are one weird big happy family haha. Anyways, I wish you luck! I would love to hear how everything goes.
post #3 of 5
I don't know when you are due, but I wouldn't tell a 4-year-old (especially who isn't at your house very often) about the baby until you are pretty far along. 9 months is a LONG time for a little one... even three months is a LONG wait. We generally tell our kids around 6 months into the pregnancy, and it is still a long wait for everyone. By that point there is physical evidence that helps it seem more concrete-- my belly is bigger, they can hear the heartbeat, they can feel the baby kick, etc.

We also always tell my step-daughter's mother at a time when my step-daughter is with us. In our case we do it by email (our custody situation has always been such that she will definitely read the email before she sees her daughter). That gives her the opportunity to have whatever reaction she is going to have (we've always assumed she is not jumping for joy) and then compose herself before she hears the news from her daughter.

I think any "big sister" books would be appropriate for half-siblings, you don't need one specifically about your specific situation. Then just be open to talking about how things might change and how they will also stay the same in a lot of ways.

Some kids find it helpful to go to doctor or midwife appointments to hear the baby's heartbeat, see pictures of what baby looks like, etc. My midwives have all been great at talking to kids about babies and birth in a straightforward and age appropriate way. Of course that depends on your practitioner and whether or not that seems like something that would be positive for her.

It might also be helpful to make sure there are dolls and baby props around so she can do baby-related play if she wants to. Sometimes kids work out confusing feelings that way, or they find ways to talk about things that are confusing them.

I think it is great to involve kids in the planning and discussion, but if we go too overboard it can freak some kids out and make them anxious. I think being matter-of-fact, open to questions and concerns, having resources available if they decide to use them, and watching for signs of stress are a good way to go.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the advice!

We will definitely tell the mother first. We had a court hearing scheduled for 2 weeks ago but it got moved 4 weeks out. We were going to tell her there in front of lawyers etc in case she has a meltdown.
I am almost 6 months along with a belly and kicks so I think we could probably tell her pretty soon.
Good idea about the books...I will check some of them out.
I would love to take her to a Dr appt but I don't think that's in the cards for us and our situation. I am hoping to have her come to my shower and help me with gifts, etc.
Hopefully breaking the news will go smoothly.
post #5 of 5
Hey chica!

Good luck on telling the bio-mom... she might have a meltdown but there's nothing she can do about it.

But I really like the idea about the sibling books. Also, I know when my mom was preggers with my little sister I got to help name her. Letting help name the baby might be fun for her... unless you've already thought of a name. Helping decorate the room or picking out mobiles and so on are more interactive activities that a four year old would love to do.

Hope youre court date goes smoothly... I'll keep my fingers crossed for you as I know you are for mine in a few weeks...
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