Is there anything more exciting than a new baby? For the new baby’s older siblings, the first several weeks can come with highs and lows. Even during the pregnancy, your older child may go through a lot of emotions. For a preschooler, adjusting to the new baby can be tough. Don’t worry, though. What your child is going through is completely normal. Here are a few things that you can expect.
Preschooler Adjusting to the New Baby
First of all, keep in mind that every preschooler is different. Your preschooler may experience everything or nothing on the list below. That’s okay. Let your child express their emotions and be prepared to answer their questions.
Excitement and Attachment
During a mother’s pregnancy, lots of preschoolers get excited about the baby and the idea of becoming an older sibling. These children tend to have a lot of questions. They want to know when the new baby will be here, what the baby will look like, and when they can play with the baby. For these preschoolers, adjusting to the new baby is relatively easy.
Once the baby arrives, these children are often very attached to the baby. They take their position as older siblings very seriously. Be sure to teach your child how to be gentle with the baby. You may love those fierce hugs, but the baby will need a softer touch.
Clinginess or Moodiness
For some preschoolers, adjusting to the new baby can be tougher. A preschooler who is used to their parents’ full attention may struggle to accept that the baby also needs care. Furthermore, a baby causes a disruption to your regular routine. For a lot of children, major changes can cause uncertainty and moodiness. Try to keep your older child’s routine similar to the way it was before. This is especially important when it comes to your child’s sleep schedule. Adequate sleep can help your child regulate their emotions.
During their mother’s pregnancy, a preschooler adjusting to the new baby can get impatient. Your preschooler’s concept of time doesn’t look like yours. If your child is three years old, for example, nine months is almost a third of their entire lifetime. You can help by reading books to your child about the new baby’s development. Since your child can see how the baby grows, share milestones with them. It’ll help to put things in practical terms. For example, you might set a lima bean in front of your preschooler and say, “This is how big the baby is right now.”
How to Help Your Preschooler
We already mentioned a few things that you can do to help a preschooler adjust to the new baby. Is there anything else you can do to help?
As a matter of fact, there is. First of all, make sure that you validate all of your child’s feelings. Let them know that you hear and understand them. For example, if your child says, “I don’t want a new baby,” it’s easy to be shocked and angry. However, try to figure out why your child feels this way. If they’re worried you won’t have time for them anymore, you can start by saying, “I hear you. I like spending time with you, too. How can we take care of the baby as a team?”
Second, if your older child attends preschool, let their teacher know what’s going on at home. Preschooler teachers can emphasize positivity when it comes to new babies.
For additional information on preschoolers experiencing big changes, check out this similar article here.
If your child isn’t already enrolled in preschool, now is a great time to find the best one. At Legacy Academy, our curriculum goes beyond letters and numbers. We also emphasize social and emotional learning, exploring how your child can handle changes at home. Want to learn more about how Legacy can help a preschooler adjust to the new baby? Contact us today to learn more.