I have one 3 year old daughter named Victoria (in my belly below). I would love to have another child, right about now (and I have the biggest baby fever), but for health reasons beyond my control, we have decided to only have one child. Many of my friends are now having a second baby and I wanted to address some of their concerns.
Like them, many parents have a second child when their firstborn is 2-4 years old so there isn’t a huge difference in age when the children grow up. I asked my sister, an 18 year experienced preschool teacher, to share her advice and her experiences with you in order to help you when you're ready to have bebé #2.
Check out this month’s Dasy’s Corner.
Mi Legasi: Hi Dasy, where do I start? Actually, I want to start at the very beginning. If I am pregnant, when should I tell my child that they’re having a baby brother or sister?
Dasy: If at school you hear your child's teacher mentioning about changes in your child's behavior or you see a change in your child's behavior, begin talking about the new baby and make sure you make him part of the process from the beginning even if they don't go to school. For example take him/her to the doctor when you're having an ultrasound.
Mi Legasi: I will add that I think I would personally wait until I'd hit that 3 month safe zone. Speaking from personal experience and having had a miscarriage early in pregnancy, it's hard enough going through this but then having to explain this loss to a young child while you're experiencing this great loss is a lot for anyone to process.
Mi Legasi: What are some things that I can do to help prepare my child?
Dasy: There are many things you can do like talking about it, reading books, making them a part of the process, they can help get the nursery ready, and buying clothes are some ways. Once baby arrives buy a gift from older child to baby and from baby to older child.
Mi Legasi: Aww, I love that and you can get so creative. Tip here is to think ahead cause the last thing you want to do is to have to deal with any art or craft project when you're about to pop. Perhaps incorporate the gifts when you have the baby shower.
Mi Legasi: Are there any books or products that you recommend?
Dasy: Yes "I'm a Big Brother/Sister by Ronne Randel & Kristina Stephenson, "My New Baby", "Waiting for Baby" by Rachel Fuller, @I'm a Big Brother/Sister" by Carolin Jayne Church to name a few. There are many great books out there.
Mi Legasi: What about when I give birth? What should I do during the first few days to ensure that my child feels loved?
Dasy: Talk to your older child about the baby's needs, let him/her be a helper and praise and acknowledge what they do for the baby. Spend individual quality time with older child. Ex. pick child from school and take to lunch or pick up early to do something together.
Mi Legasi: I know that the early days are crazy. I recommend saying "YES" to anyone that offers to help you so that you can take a little time to pay attention to your older child.
Mi Legasi: What are some characteristics in behavior changes that we can look out for in our child?
Dasy: Every child is different. Increased emotional sensitivity, whining, frustrations, hitting, kicking, or biting are just a few that I've seen and experienced.
Mi Legasi: What’s the best way to deal with tantrums, aggression, and jealousy?
Dasy: Talk to older child about newborns and point out advantages of being a big brother/sister. Make sure individual attention is given to older child. When you buy something for baby include something for older child.
Mi Legasi: That is such a great idea and a way to bring positive attention to the older sibling since we all know babies are the attention grabbers. Thank you so much for these awesome tips!
Mi Legasi: Is there anything else you think we as parents should know?
Dasy: Be creative and make the older sibling stand out in their own way. For example, make a photo album for the older sibling to show at school or to look at and share with the family of them helping you during the pregnancy and after the baby is born. Have older child paint or draw a picture for their new baby brother or sister and frame it in the new nursery.
My sister Dasy (pictured below with my daughter Victoria) is a walking world of toddler knowledge. She is my older sister and has always been such a great sister and now aunt. She is so gifted with children and has seen it all through her many years of experience. Every month we will talk about subjects that we want to know more about in our parenthood journey. I encourage you to comment below if there are any subjects you'd like us to address or talk about. It takes a village to raise a child but together we can. ¡Si se puede!