So often we look at what a child takes away when it enters our world, instead of what it brings.
Often that trickles down to what our children perceive as truth as well. When we truly see a new child as a new gift to bless our home, that excitement and joy informs how we communicate about the new arrival.
Instead of trying to proactively help our child "adjust" to sharing a bedroom. We excitedly inform them that they get to have a new baby join them! What fun to be able to have someone to share bedtime memories and have a sleepover with every night!
Instead of somberly letting our eldest know that they need to be prepared to share our love . . . but of course we still love them . . . we tell them how wonderful they will be at helping us take care of baby brother or sister.
They will be such a good big sibling, and this little baby in mommy's tummy already knows their voice and cannot WAIT to see them!
Instead of getting books at the library that implant thoughts into our children that babies are a nuisance, a parent-distraction, and a money and time suck . . .
We encourage our child's NATURAL and God-given response to a new baby, which is that of excitement, joy, and anticipation.
We as parents pass on many of our own attitudes, fears, and responses to our children. They are looking to us to know how to react, and we must first consider our own belief system about children, before we begin to inform someone else's.
A sibling is the greatest gift you can give your child --I should know, my parent's gave me 10 (pictured below). They will be there for your child in peer-to-peer ways that you simply are not able to. They will be a friend and partner-in-crime. Someone to fight with, and learn social skills with, and be scared with. Someone to look back and laugh at-all-the-stupid-things-we-did-together with. Someone to cry about and cry to.
You are taking away nothing from their childhood, by bringing a precious new life into their world.
1. Do Not Project Your Own Worries on Them
You may be worried about how your child will adjust, or how family dynamics will change, and that's normal! I wonder that every single time the Lord has given us a child. But I have found my own children have none of those fears. They are excited to meet "the baby," and we leave it at that: Hope, excitement, and anticipation.
2. Tell Them What A Wonderful Big Sibling They Will Be
We can all benefit from having the emphasis taken off of us, and put into how we can serve. Children are no different. Before baby comes and after, we love to praise our children for being helpful good big siblings, and taking care of each other so well.
3. Be Intentional With Eye-Contact and Time
Even though you have set the stage for welcome arms towards a new sibling instead of doubt and fear, family dynamic shifts can affect some children more than others, especially during Mama's absence while she heals. While our eldest children often love helping out and carrying Mama food, I find the youngest usually feels a bit booted out.
In most cases, this is a healthy thing, because we've all seen the 17-year-old baby that never quite outgrew being Mama's-Little-Buddy.
BUT Elisha and I are intentional to look for opportunities to spend time with each child without all of them present. Even if it's just the toddler crawling up in mommy's bed postpartum and talking about the baby. If it's sitting on my lap and reading a book while baby is napping. If it's letting the eldest stay up a bit later and visiting while I nurse. Our children need time where we are looking into their eyes and saying, "you are my focus. You have my attention."
And in our experience, an infant doesn't have to get in the way of that.
A very, very, fresh newborn stage is a beautiful time to spend quality time with Daddy. Usually the children are so excited to pick up take out or play games with Daddy, they don't miss me as much as they would if Elisha was not as intentional about dropping work and being present with them.
4. Remember that Change is Healthy
The family unit is a wonderful incubator for our children to learn to be healthy, life-giving adults, and change is a part of that.
The world does not revolve around our children, and change waits for no man. Having our children experience navigating change in family dynamics, realizing they still are secure in Mommy and Daddy's love, and eventually love the new change, is a beautiful journey for them to go through.
As they flex this muscle, they will learn that when they feel the discomfort of change, instead of fearing it, they can look back at experience and think, "I can go through this. It gets better on the other side."
Maybe they will even learn to love change!
I know I did.
Congratulations on bringing this new blessing into the world! May our Lord and Savior give you wisdom and encouragement on this journey every step of the way.
And remember . . . it IS WORTH IT!
If you are looking to create more systems that simplify your home, check out Katie's Free Masterclass to learn her top three tips for creating a peacefully productive home!
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