4 year old and new baby - suggestions? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 03-12-2002, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
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I am expecting in late May and have a ds who will be 4 in late April as well as a step daughter who will be 12 end of March. My question is do you have any resources or suggestions to help with the transition, changes etc etc for my ds with the new baby?
We have been talking about it for months now and he has a couple of books about the new baby. We have slowly made minimal changes to rooms and moved some furniture around, cleared his toys from the change table, bought him a new bookshelf for these toys and books (this was a hug hit).
I've benn prepping him that babies cry LOTS and don't do much else but sleep and lay down and cry.
Any other concrete suggestions would be most appreciated!!
Rose Ann
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#2 of 6 Old 03-12-2002, 05:06 PM
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Have you talked about the birth? If you will be at the hospital prepare him for that. If it is a homebirth and he will be there... or if he will stay with someone else.. also things to consider.

My DD was just about 4 when my Grace was born.. We also stressed that she wouldn't have an instant playmate (something she was thinking) that babies don't do much..that big girls have a lot more fun,(hint..hint..) She was really quite good when the baby came. I had a hospital birth and it was hard for Molly to leave me at night, but it was only one night and she had her Daddy.
We didn't notice any real jealousy until the baby was around 8 months, and starting to act cute and learn new things. We really had to make an extra effort then to spend more special time with just Molly.

Good luck! and Blessings on your birth!

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#3 of 6 Old 03-12-2002, 07:25 PM
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Have you introduced him to any other little babies? Or even to some baby animals? The fragility of them is hard for a 4 year old to understand and you will find yourself saying "gentle, careful, etc" a lot for the first while. It may also make things more real for him.

Show lots of pictures of him as a baby - with lots of stories of how he was and how he grew - very helpful - Some kids forget that the baby will actually grow up someday.

My 3 year old dd wants to change, carry, hug, etc. as well as climb over, nudge along, etc. They are very close, and show signs of loving each other already, but it is hard as a mother to allow the older child time to bond, while keeping the baby safe.

A present given from the baby or as a gift for being a big brother may help (We gave ours a small doll - my dh received a toy truck from his baby brother). Praising the big brother/ big sister role works really well.

Congratulations to you and your family!

- and remember that jealousy and squables are a natural part of understanding who we are and how we belong to the family. Explain these "unhappy" feelings as well.
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#4 of 6 Old 03-14-2002, 06:56 PM
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My kids are almost the exact same age difference. My ds was 3.10 when my dd was born last year. I think the most important thing, which you are doing, is talking, talking, talking. And include him in everything possible. We always talked about "our baby" and said "we are having a baby" and he has always liked that (when dd turned 1 in January and I was shopping for cake stuff with ds, he told the clerk: "Guess what? Our baby is turning one!"). Like Peggy said, there was no jealousy until about 8 or 9 months, when dd started crawling and getting into his stuff. And it wasn't even so much jealousy as just annoyance, like: okay, now what was so great about having a baby again? But they absolutely adore each other and play together and it's a joy to behold. Best of luck and blessings to you all!

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#5 of 6 Old 03-28-2002, 07:45 AM
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Our ds was 3 years and 8 months when little brother was born 2 months ago. We talked alot about how babies are a lot of work so Mummy will be tired and also will need your help to look after the baby. Our first son was present at the birth (at home) and that has certainly helped him to know the baby is here to stay (ie. can't send him back to the hospital now). I've made sure to give him responsiblities like going to check if the baby is awake, watching him so he doesn't roll off the change table (he's too young to roll, but it makes him feel valuable), rocking him while I'm in the shower, etc. The important thing for me is to let them be real responsiblities and not be standing over him telling him to rock him. If he doesn't rock him, and I'm not available, the baby will cry.

It really warms my heart to see the baby's little face light up in a big smile when big brother comes into the room. And when big brother runs off the get the digital camera, which he's allowed to use, to get a photo of the baby smiling.

It also helps that almost all of his friends already had younger siblings so he a had a good idea of what was involved.
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#6 of 6 Old 03-31-2002, 12:03 AM
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i found the book siblings without rivalry by elaine mazlish and adele faber really great. it helps u to empathsize with your older child about the new addition and is a great reference for when they get older and the fun really begins...lol. for the actual birth itself, we tried to spread out the focus by having gifts for all older siblings ready for the first time they met their new sibling. it was a birth - day party! cake and ice cream helped too.
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