As I spend less and less time sleeping at night my thoughts are circling around a few main issues, and this is one of them: DH and I already feel some tension in the air these days as more and more focus falls on the baby to come. What are your thoughts or past experiences on helping your older kids adjust to this new reality of a sibling? DS is happy to have a sibling (he is the quiet type when it comes to his feelings though...), he will be basically 6 years old when he/she arrives (a week before his own BD). BUT I'm guessing it will be a little rough for him as well for a while: tired parents, crying baby at night, I'll be recovering from the c-section..... I don't want to push him to go back to school right away, but I kind of think it would be better for him sooner then later...I don't know..such are my musings and I'm wondering if Mama's out there are in the same boat..
How to help DS to adjust to his new reality as "big brother"?
Hmmm, yes I have...but just seeing this now! I have done some thinking on this, but our girls are going to be 2 1/2. We talk about babies needing diapers changed, breastfeeding, sleeping and crying a lot. How mommy and daddy will take care of the new babes just like we took care of them. We've looked at lots of photos of them as newborns. I do talk about how they are a lot of work and mommy and daddy will love them lots, just like we love Q&M lots. I'm trying to steer clear of the big sibling thing of how they will help care for them...many people bring this to their attention. Its our job to care for the new ones and the older ones. I have expectations for my 2 year olds, but caring for their siblings is far off that list. If they choose to help by grabbing diapers, etc., that will be great but I refuse to make them feel I am displeased if they choose not to. (I really am just working on them taking little steps towards responsibilty for themselves...like putting shoes and coats away when we come in and helping put toys away, etc.!) We discuss how they care for their dollies and how mommy and daddy will do those same things for the new babies. We will talk more as we get closer of how many friends and family will be coming to help our family...all of us, the girls, the new babies and mommy and daddy.
I would think for a child in school that keeping up the regular schedule would be helpful. We do a one day a week toddler class, a library story time and outdoor "Nature Babies," weekly program and we plan to do those just the same...perhaps with the help of a kind friend or our part time nanny. The girls will just be getting back into the swing of all that and they do love those activities each week.
Hope my thoughts with my 2 year olds is somewhat helpful.
Sorry I didn't see this until you bumped it. This is a quiet group though, for sure, compared to others I've been with in the past. :)
Our daughter (who is now 6) filled the shoes of big sister really easily. We had a couple of talks beforehand about how when I would feed the baby, then it would be the baby and mommy time although she could still be there for it and we could talk or read a book. But she just slid into the role well.
We also made over her room a bit - she didn't get a new room as her room was always hers - but we got some new stuff for it so that when people came to visit she could show them the baby's room and her new room. That helped, maybe?
Maybe give a couple of jobs to him ahead of time that he can practice with. Make him feel special/responsible. Getting diapers for you, getting blankets for you, etc.
Carve out special mommy & son time and daddy & son time so that he feels important and not lost. Even if it's a half hour a day, it's the time that matters.
Hope that helps?
Yes, that helps, thank you both. I think we are definitely seeing some changes already, even though baby isn't here yet. Back to school has been really, really hard. He just wants to be home. DH is gone until Thursday for work and I had DS burst into tears all weekend at random times saying he misses Papa and wants him back.... Not his usual self for sure....
I'll just add that some friends and I (who all have boys between 5 and 10 years old) have noticed that 6-7 years old was a time of increased emotions/drama for many of our boys. It's possible that the change you're seeing is due to the new baby coming, but it also may be an age/stage thing, or a back-to-school adjustment period, or a bad day/week. Obviously, you'll have a better sense of which of these is the most likely (or which combination is most likely) for your DS. I know I forget sometimes that, even though thinking about the new baby takes up a lot of MY time, it's not so real/important/all-consuming to the rest of the family at this point.
My niece was 5 when her little sister arrived and my sister said it took her a couple months to really adjust. Not that the 5 yo didn't LOVE the new baby to death, there were just little things off with ehr behavior and not being the "baby" of the family anymore.
I've got a 2 yo so can't offer much relevant age related advice. I'm worried about the adjustment too though! Today DS told me the baby needed to stay in my tummy so I can hold DS, not the new baby. Nice. It made us laugh though!
Carinthia, I don't know if this helps, but my 6yo son has been doing something similar to what you are describing. I'm thinking it might be a stage thing like jillc mentioned. We took him to a group violin class yesterday and he dissolved in tears and accused me of "not telling him" that we were going to it! This after we had talked it up all morning! He's also a little homebody, unlike his sisters (at their current stages of 10 and 4). We homeschool, but we only have one day/wk of actually being home all day, and he often says "I wish we could just stay home again today" even though he always enjoys the classes/activities that we're doing while we're doing them. (He ended up volunteering that the group class was "a lot more fun than I expected" afterward.)
Sounds like maybe your son's birthday will be a perfect opportunity to make a fuss over him? And I definitely second the recommendation of having each parent spend some one on one time with him, starting as soon as possible and continuing after the baby is born. Maybe an evening game of checkers or catch, making next day's lunches, or whatever both parties enjoy.
I appreciate your insight that the baby isn't as all-consuming to everyone else as it is to its mama! I'll have to keep that in mind!
My 5 1/2 year old is very clingy/sensitive lately as well... and he has 2 younger brothers already (my 4 year old and his dad's 1 year old)... I've noticed that my DS just needs one on one time with me... to cuddle, chat or just be soothed. He does NOT want to go to school either... He wants to stay home and be around me as much as possible. I think a lot has to do with his age... But I am definitely guilty of placing more "adult" emotions on him. I don't think my DS can really feel the stress/tension/anxiety that I'm feeling. He can maybe sense it a bit. but he's not yet mature enough to truly understand what his parents are going through. It's just a season, and it WILL pass!
Sounds like some similar experiences here! I will definitely try to make his birthday a big deal as usual (in fact I was thinking I should bake the cake part of his cake ahead of time and freeze it..) and we are planning a special little event/play date off site at this place he loves. I will really try to purposefully carve out some time for him alone...that makes perfect sense!
We've been watching newborns on youtube. Everything from breast feeding to bathing and crying. We are also looking for a good doll for him, I have some cloth diapers and clothes already for his doll. His birthday is about 3 weeks after my due date so we've already started birthday shopping, he wants to go to the aquarium for his b-day so it might be our first family outing. He's started sleeping with us again, so we bought a bigger mattress. I can't kick him out and welcome the new baby. We also bought a separate carrier for the baby.