FOR PREPARING CHILDREN FOR THEIR NEW ROLE IN THE FAMLY
Whether you have a new baby in the house or one on the way, your
older child may be feeling overshadowed by all the baby commotion.
Learn how to make them the center of attention with these preparatory
FOR PREPARING CHILDREN FOR THEIR UPCOMING
RELOCATION (click title)
Sooner or later, many families face the prospect of relocating.
Stressful and disruptive as it is for adults, moving -- and the
anticipation of moving -- is even more traumatic for children. But
parents who are able to address their child's needs and worries
in advance can transfer the experience into a growing and positive
FOR PREPARING CHILDREN FOR THEIR
NEW ROLE IN THE FAMLY
- Talk directly to your child about becoming a Big
Brother / Big Sister
before you openly discuss the exciting news about the coming
baby. Kids really are listening to what you tell others.
- Speak to your child in terms that address his/her perspective.
To a young child, this experience is about becoming a Big
Brother or Big Sister.
- Bring your child to a doctor's appointment to see the
baby on the ultrasound.
- Take advantage of resources offered by the hospital where
you will be delivering your new baby. Many hospitals
have sibling tours and classes designed to help during the
- Spend time with other families that have recently welcomed
an additional child into the family.
- Get your child a baby of their own. One of the best
ways to keep your child involved is to get them their own
baby to care for.
- Be supportive by acknowledging your child's unspoken feelings.
For example, saying "it's going to take us all some
time to get used to having a baby in our family" will let
him/her know that you share anxiety about things that are
new and unfamiliar.
- Remind your child how much you love being a parent because
of him/her. Be specific about why you feel that way.
- Offer your child the chance to participate in preparing
for the baby, and ask for his/her opinion.
- Give your child a tour of the baby's things: car
seat, crib, clothing, nursery, toys, diaper bag, bottles,
- Ask your child for help in arranging the nursery.
- Reserve time every day to focus 100% on your child by
doing things together and ignoring distractions. Showing
your child he/she has your undivided attention sends a strong
message of reassurance and unconditional love.
- "Imagine" with your child the things he/she will do with
the baby. Let him/her know how lucky the baby is to
have such a wonderful Big Brother
/ Big Sister.
- Talk about the birthing experience as it pertains to
your child. Nothing could be scarier to a toddler
than to wake up and unexpectedly find a babysitter preparing
breakfast instead of Mommy or Daddy . Reassure him/her
you'll be home in a few days -- with their new brother or
- Tell your child about his or her "babyhood" -- recall
specific stories and don't be stingy with the details!
- Talk with your child about what the baby will be like.
Use books that show pictures of babies and discuss
what new babies can and cannot do.
- Have your child select a picture frame for his/her room
that will soon be filled with a new photo of the baby and
the Big Brother / Big
- Tape a picture of your child to the baby's crib so that
the Big Brother / Big
Sister will be the first person the baby sees every
day. Your child will feel so proud!
- Invite your child to help pick out baby's coming home
- Discuss changes to the family's routines ahead of time
with your child. You may not be able to eat dinner
at the same time every night or play music when the baby
is sleeping. Talk about what those changes might be
so no one is caught off-guard.
- Brief the caregiver on your child's routines -- everything
from favorite foods and stories to usual nap and bed times
-- in order to keep things as close to normal as possible.
- Be prepared for some mixed reactions. No matter
how well you explain what's happening to your family, some
level of jealousy or confusion is likely to arise.
Your child is not used to sharing his/her parents, and will
likely struggle with that fact.
- Have your child and the baby exchange gifts. Your
child may want to pick out a special gift for the baby during
- Make up a secret family handshake and be sure to use
it before you go to the hospital to deliver the baby.
- Enjoy reading your child's Big Brother
/ Big Sister keepsake journal,
together and often.
FOR PREPARING CHILDREN FOR THEIR UPCOMING
or later, many families face the prospect of relocating. Stressful
and disruptive as it is for adults, moving -- and the anticipation
of moving -- is even more traumatic for children. But parents
who are able to address their child's needs and worries in
advance can transfer the experience into a growing and positive
Renee Raab Whitcombe, author of Look
who's moving to a New Home, offers these tips for preparing
children for their upcoming relocation:
- Present the move in a positive light. Explain to
your child the circumstances of the move (job transfer,
new job, being closer to family), and let them know why
relocating is good for the family. Convey your genuine enthusiasm
about the new home, new school and new neighborhood, but
don't overdo it with over-the-top cheerleading.
- Listen. And then listen some more. Communication
is critical between parents and children when introducing
and preparing for a move to a new home. Encourage questions
and candid discussion. Be sensitive to fears, sadness or
confused emotions. Let your child know you are available
on an on-going basis.
- Explain the timing and process. No matter what
age your child is, the whole idea of moving becomes more
clear when you explain everything step-by-step. Be generous
with details about who does the packing, when the movers
will come, how the family will travel to the new home and
how the movers will transport everything.
- Involve your child in the moving process. Allowing
age-appropriate input on decisions and planning will help
your child feel like a participant in the move. Let your
child help pack his own belongings, allow him to decide
which things get thrown out or donated to charity and let
him mark the boxes from his own bedroom.
- Avoid Moving Day Melt Down. Judge your child's
emotional threshold for observing movers methodically pack,
wrap and empty your home, and make plans accordingly. Perhaps
it's best to drop him off with a friend or relative, or
hire a babysitter to take him to the park and out for lunch
at a kid-friendly restaurant.
- Visit and research the new neighborhood. Find out
as much as possible about your new home and area, and share
the information with your child. If your child can't visit
the home ahead of the move, bring back pictures or video
to help him envision his new room and the kitchen where
he will be eating meals. Get a local map of the new area
and highlight school, parks, grocery stores and other places
of interest to kids.
in touch with friends and neighbors. Help your child
to understand that moving away doesn't mean losing special
friends and family forever. Buy a new address book to collect
contact information. Take lots of pictures before you go
for a memory book. Have a good-bye gathering (at your home,
a friend's home or a local pizza place). Send postcards
with your new contact information to friends and family,
and include a request for visits, phone calls and email.
- Be prepared for some acting out and moodiness.
These are natural signs of stress and adjustment. Your child
may be experiencing several conflicting emotions. It's entirely
possible to feel excited, sad and scared at the same time.
Going from familiar to unfamiliar is difficult, especially
for a child who wasn't responsible for the initial decision
to move in the first place.
- Transfer routines. As you get settled in your new
home, remember to bring traditions with you. Keep places
as the dinner table the same. Arrange food and drinks in
the fridge like always. Resume Friday movie-and-popcorn-night
as soon as possible.
- Plug in to the new neighborhood. Seek out new friends
on the block. Sign up for activities your child already
enjoys (sports, art class, dance or martial arts). Visit
the new school. Get a library card and hit the mall. A proactive
approach will go far to generate a sense of familiarity
quickly and is sure to help break the ice.