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Adjusting To A Second Child - Articles Surfing
Nothing changes the dynamic of a couple's life together like the news that they're expecting their first child. And, later, nothing will change the dynamic of their young family's life more than the news that a second child is on the way-especially if the first-born is still very young.
Most couples are surprised-having been through it, once, and believing that they're experts, now-at how unprepared they feel, once their second child is born. The problems of time management, sleep deprivation, and even budget concerns are magnified to a much greater degree than they expected.
One of the most important things parents can do, to make their lives easier as they anticipate their second child's birth, is to prepare their first-born for the transition.
Up until now, the first child has been the center of the family's life-every decision has been based on how it will impact that child's care and development. To the child, the world has revolved around him (or her), and-no matter how young he still may be-he's grown to expect all of his parents' attention.
But that's all about to change, and often, it isn't an easy passage. So, how can you make it easier, for your first-born?
You can begin the process of preparing your child, as soon as you're comfortable telling your friends and extended families about the new baby. Your child should be told about the coming changes by you. And you should include your child in as many of the preparations as possible. The more he feels like an important part of the family-the more responsibility he feels-the more he'll look forward to his brother's or sister's birth.
If you plan to move your older child to a new room, when the baby's born, that move should be made well in advance, and treated like a "promotion" instead of a shuffle. Let your child choose as much of the decor as possible, for his new room. Include him in the preparation of the baby's room, as well. He can contribute ideas about colors and toys, and ways to make his new sibling feel comfortable.
Go through his own baby pictures with him, so that he begins to understand the stages the new baby will pass through, and just how vulnerable the baby will be, for the first several months. He needs to know that the baby won't be a playmate, for quite some time.
He'll be curious about how the baby came to be. If he's still in the pre-school stage, he won't understand the mechanics or the biology involved, but he could gain a lot of insight from a trip to the doctor with you. Being able to listen to the baby's heartbeat, in the doctor's office, can make the impending birth a very real event for him.
See if your hospital has prenatal sibling preparation classes, where he can learn how to hold and respond to his new sibling. A life-sized baby doll at home can be used to prepare him in the proper techniques of baby-handling.
Help him understand that life will change. Your new baby will demand most of your attention, now, and your older child-rather than being left out-can be a great help to all of you. This is his chance to show how "grown up" he is, as he helps by doing his chores, dressing himself, watching the baby for short times, etc.
The most important thing you can do is to let your first-born know that, though he'll have to share your attention from now on, you'll always love him, as much as the day he was born.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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