Prepating a 3 year old for a new sibling

Natasha - posted on 12/02/2010 ( 12 moms have responded )

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Hi All,

I found a couple of months ago that I am going to be having another baby. At first my son was really excited about it, but recently he has been saying that he doesn't want one. I have tried to talk to him about things that will be changing, and he knows that there is a baby growing in mommy's tummy. I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions on how to make this an easier transison for him. I don't want him to feel like he is being replaced, but do want him to understand that getting a sibling is the good thing. Thanks in advance :)

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Samantha - posted on 12/04/2010

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Make sure he is involved in everything, give him important to him jobs to do :) and making a canvas with paint for baby room or somethin like that. i have four, and they all had their worries at some stage.. make it fun, and explain he can help with bath, and changing, bottle eventually lol. Good luck and congratulations!

MELANIE - posted on 12/02/2010

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Try videos like: Sesame Street - Three Bears and a New Baby, Hey, What About Me? A Kid's Video Guide for Brothers & Sisters of New Babies, or Sesame Street - A New Baby in My House.
My baby likes Dora and the Super Babies but it's not at all realistic. I hope these help some.

MELANIE - posted on 12/02/2010

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I understand how you feel. I have a now 11 yr old step son and a 3 yr old daughter and we are expecting a baby boy in March. When the 11yr old was 8 we had to tell him he was having another little sister. He was used to being our only child and it was hard for him to give that up. He has 2 siblings with his mother so he was kind of adjusted to it but to know he would no longer have a place to be on his own was hard for him. Our daughter reacted much like your son... Yay, then I don't want a baby, and now it's I have a brother I want a sister. We had her watch several kid shows about being a big sister and showing her that a baby is a good company for her. We bought her dolls to "practice" feeding, changing diapers, and helping out too. She is getting more comfortable with the idea but we read her stories, let her watch t.v. shows, and try to expose her to younger children so she gets used to the idea. Our 11 yr old actually has helped her a lot with the idea of another baby. He explains and shows her things she can do to help me when the baby gets here by using her dolls. I know since you have a son dolls may not be that comfortable but they seem to help us out a lot. Maybe you could rent the life-like ones rather than the toys from a family planning center. I hope my ramblings were somewhat helpful and gave you some ideas. I'm going through this just like you and would love to hear any other ideas you come up with. Good Luck!

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There's an 18 month gap between my boys. the older one tried to be "helpful" but was too young to understand. Friends said "get him involved", so I'd ask him to bring me the wipes or nappies or a singlet (I forgot new borns go through them at a rapid rate) and there would be 10 thrown at me or left in a line through the house, so there was lots of cleaning up after I got my "help". While I was pregnant I bought a plain inexpensive doll which he named and a spare for Grandma's. Now 2 years later they both have a doll and I picked up a cheep pram for when "girls visit" but the boys do push them around every now and then.
I think 3-5 year olds love pretending - so you'll need to monitor what's best for your son.
When the baby arrives you'll know what to do, just try to keep check on quality time with both your son and your other half.
Good luck.

Rosie - posted on 12/15/2010

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I purchased the book "Big Sister" from the store- Childrens Place. They also sell "Big Brother". It helped to some extent

Amanda - posted on 12/14/2010

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Well I just had my second child about seven weeks ago and my son is three going on four. We told him what was going on and he was very excited to keep it going we explained the things babys would need, everytime we went shopping for anything we would get him to pick out something for the baby. He helped pick out baby names and we just involved him in everything we possibly could even doctor visits for the heart beat and so on...unfortunatly here we could not let him into the room to see the baby on ultrasound but he got to see the pictures we brought home...there was one point that he said he didn't want the baby to be in my belly cause he didn't want it at all and I blankly or matter of factly said we are having this baby weather you like it or not, we want this baby just like we want you, we love you both and the baby is coming. he eventually got over it and once the baby came he was very excited. a couple of times he said he wanted a boy (i have a girl) but he is over that now also and he loves his little sister and tries to help when he feels like it..lol good luck

Chris - posted on 12/14/2010

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My son had just turned 3 when his little sister was born this past summer. I whole heartedly second much of the advice below. A couple of weeks before his sister was born my son was given a small baby doll that has it's own bottle, bouncy seat, playpen, carseat, etc. now beloved and christened "Baby Suzie". The doll was a big help in demonstrating to my son how a baby needed to be treated (i.e. gently).

I used a couple other bedtime stories (repeatedly each night for the 3-4 months preceeding the baby's birth). Franklin's Baby Sister and the Bearstein Bears and the New Baby both have "boy" characters who get new baby sisters, so the parallel for my son was very clear. We knew from 5 months into the pregnancy it would be a girl and actually used her intended name when referring to "Baby Ella" in Mummy's tummy. Our son was particularly interested in the terms "big brother", "little sister" and very proud to announce he was going to be/now is a "big brother"!

I also used the Sesame Street Three Bears and a New Baby as my son is a huge Elmo/SS fan. The familiarity of the characters helped him focus on the story and subject.

My son came briefly to the hospital and brought his sister a new teddy bear as a present. She in turn had a small gift for him too. She wasn't of much interest to him during that visit or even the day she came home. But opportunities to sit with me and watch the baby in her bassinette, etc. helped ease her into our family routine very quickly.

A note of encouragement: my son, until now an only child and only grandchild on both sides, has been wonderful with his new sister. We expected some jealousy and adjustments, but surprisingly he's been consistently gentle and caring. He shows concern when she cries, pats her back, tells her "It's OK Ella!", gets her soother for her, brings her toys, etc. We've also given him lots of positive reinforcement around being "such a good big brother".

I think involvement in the process has been key for all of us, but especially for him. He's not had reason to see his sister as a replacement or competing for Mummy's time, he's part of the routine.

Best of luck!

Natasha - posted on 12/10/2010

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Thank you everyone. I do constantly tell my son that he is going to be a fabulous big brother, and that the baby is going to be a new addition to our family. He is really good with helping with the little boy that I babysit, and takes the dirty diapers to the garbage for me, so hopefully that will continue when this baby arrives. I guess it might just be my jitters about bringing another baby into our family and changing our dynamics.

Carisa - posted on 12/02/2010

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My oldest is a girl and we never had that problem, so my advice might not help. I made sure through my whole pregnancy that we talked about the baby as "our" baby (the whole families) We also talked a lot about how important it is to be a big sister and how she would be able to teach the baby things. When the baby came, we tried to involve her in things (getting diapers, wipes, nursing pillow, things like that) I still make a big deal about how important being sisters is and my girls get along very well.

Jessica - posted on 12/02/2010

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my daughter was the same age when i found out i was pregnant again. she was actually really excited about the whole thing up untill the day came that my son was born. she came and visited us in the hospital and was a mess. she wanted all of my attention and since i couldnt give it all to her anymore, she acted out. shes 4 now and hes 1 and its still not very easy. they both starve for mommys attention, they get equal attention and love each other dearly. with me i found that the first 4 to 5 months we're the hardest. my daughter had to learn & realize that mommy had to do a lot more for the baby that he couldnt do on his own. she loved helping out w/ him and still does though. i think all you really can do is keep doing what you're doing by talking to him and trying to get him prepared & let him know he can be your special helper when the baby arrives. do they maybe offer any classes for siblings-to-be in your area? that may help a too. that was something i wanted to do but wasnt able to. hope this helps!

Natasha - posted on 12/02/2010

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Thank you for your suggestions Melanie. I don't have any issues with my son playing with dolls, and have even bought him a few myself. I will definately be showing him what he can do with the baby. I haven't really found any cartoons that show an older sibling with a baby around, but I will definately see if there are some movies out there that I could rent for him. I was hoping that this would be an easier transition for him, as I run a small dayhome, and we have had babies here before, but I guess the thought with them is that they will be going home at the end of the day and this one will be here all the time.

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