I will admit that I love babies. And my kids love them too. However, it is a little different when a new sibling is making its appearance. Some kids are excited beyond belief and simply can’t wait to meet the little one. While others feel as if they will disappear and be left out. I have children on both ends of the spectrum and a couple in between.
Our oldest is struggling with the fact that he is gaining more responsibilities around the house that happen to coincide with the birth of our fifth child. I was the oldest and remember being given more responsibilities before my siblings. It’s not easy. But add in a baby and he feels he will be left out and forgotten.
Now, any parent of multiple children that span a range of ages will tell you its not easy to make sure each child gets one-on-one time they need. It isn’t impossible, but it does take work. So this pregnancy I have worked to make each child feel special and involved by doing several things with them and for them.
5 Ways to Involve Your Child(ren) in Your Pregnancy
Make sure they are the first to know
Before you announce the upcoming arrival to the world, make sure your children know. Our oldest actually knew about 3 weeks before our younger kids did, because we thought a miscarriage was looming again. Thankfully, that was not the case and we were able to announce to our little ones the upcoming arrival a few weeks later.
Have them make the announcement
Baby announcements have become all the rage. Some people are so creative and have adorable announcements, while others (like us) just have the kids call the grandparents to tell them. However you choose to make the announcement, make sure your kids are involved in some way. It makes them feel special and they will love sharing their excitement with others!
Take them along to your appointments
Since I have 4 children, they were each taken on one appointment with me. I started with the oldest and it was a real turning point in his thoughts toward the baby. That day, the doctor brought in her tiny hand-held ultrasound instead of just the doppler to hear the heartbeat. He was able to hold the monitor as she found the head, heart, hands and feet. He was the first of the kids to hear the heartbeat and he was in absolute awe. In that moment, I saw his eyes light up and his heart melt. He fell in love with that baby right then and there. It made my heart swell with pride and I knew there would be a special bond with him and this baby. He was able to call everyone and tell them what he heard. It was simply amazing to see the change in him. Then we went to lunch together and were able to spend some much needed one-on-one time with each other. I was able to take each of the others to an appointment with me and each one had their own one-on-one time with me and to hear and/or see the baby by themselves. They loved it.
Allow them to pick out a gift for the baby
You can do this a couple of different ways. With four children, we have a great need to declutter before the newest bundle arrives. So, we employed our children and gave them a task. All of them have a slight obsession with stuffed animals, so we told them they could pick up to 5 to keep, give one to the baby to have and then the others were for giveaway. This really helped them not only declutter, but let go of the ones they don’t really need – all while giving them a chance to pass something along to their new sibling. It’s really a win-win-win. If you are better at decluttering than I am, then you can just take each child on a shopping trip to find a special gift for the new arrival. Either way, it is a chance for each child to welcome the new baby with a special gift they choose on their own.
Give them a Big Brother or Big Sister gift
With each birth our children have received a small little something that helped them know they were still special to us and that another life would never change much we love them. When our second child was born, we bought a small camera for our oldest to take his own pictures. They weren’t the best quality, but oh how much fun he had taking pictures. This time I had t-shirts made for each of them in their favorite colors (green, blue, pink and purple) with Biggest/Big Brother and Biggest/Big Sister on them. Plus, the girls have matching bows! We also found some fun letters that represent their first name initial to hang in their rooms! If you will be laboring, you could pack some snacks/treats, a new book, a deck of cards, a new little game, etc. I won’t be laboring, so our kids won’t be at the hospital until after the baby arrives, so opted out of this. But, really…the options are ENDLESS!!
What’s important is that you recognize them in their current roles and emphasize how important they are to your family and how important their new roles will be once baby arrives. Kids want to know they are valued and loved and sometimes they feel overshadowed with a newborn in the house.
What suggestions do you have to include children in a pregnancy?