Friday 10 October 2014

Tips for transitioning an only child to a big sister

This week marked the last week of work for me. All of a sudden, Attila's arrival is becoming that much closer. I've been spending lots of time resting, and lots of time with Ellie as well. She had her second birthday recently, and has morphed into a "two-nager" - lots of meltdowns, lots of temper tantrums, but lots of development too. Her speech improves daily and I keep seeing bigger snippets of personality coming through. She's a real delight most of the time. It has me wondering though, have I done enough to prepare her for the changes which come along with a new baby in the house. After all, she has been the sole centre of my parenting world for two years now... how will having a younger sibling change that dynamic?

We've been doing a couple of things to help prepare her for a new arrival:
  • We have been reading books which talk about siblings, and sharing, and how babies grow in mama's tummy
  • Mr Fork and I have been running scenarios by each other, and how we plan to react if they happen. For example, if she gets jealous and says she hates mama and the baby, Mr Fork will stay calm and say that he loves mama and Attila and we all love Ellie too
  • I've been letting her pat my belly as it grows, and tell her that there is a little brother in there and she has to use gentle hands with him. She loves to blow raspberries on it
  • Grandma and Grandad gave her a baby doll of her own at her birthday. She loves it, and carries it around with her, so I'm hoping she can mimic me when I need to look after Attila. She already asks to tuck baby in and change his nappy
  • Also for her birthday, she was also given lots of toys that she can play with independently, such as duplo, dolls to dress up, colouring things and play food and high tea sets. The aim is that these are things she can play with beside me with minimal input
  • As soon as I could share, I told daycare about our news and they've been working with her too. They give her 'baby' dolls to look after and read her books. They're getting the children in her room interested in all things baby to be honest
  • In my hospital bag, I have packed some presents for Attila to give to her that she can play with while visiting in hospital. Little things, like bubble mixes and some Sesame Street pyjamas as she has taken to stealing mine (only just two and already stealing my clothes!!)

I do worry too how I will transition from one child to two, especially as I remember those sleep deprived early days when breastfeeding was hard and the level of care required was oh so high and all consuming. I worry that I won't be giving Attila the same level of attention that Ellie got as an infant.

Does anyone have any other tips to share to help children adjust to a new sibling? Or a mama to adjust from one child to two?

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