This is something inevitable that mothers are both excited about and dread at the same time. The best way to tell your older child you are pregnant is to give them a sense of involvement by telling them in such a way that it appears that you are catering to their needs.
I know it may sound cruel, but there is truth to it. Keeping your little one in the loop with updated pregnancy news and allowing interaction with your growing belly makes for a more pleasant pregnancy.
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Here are a few tips that may help to break the news to your older child:
- Start randomly talking about how great it would be for your child to have a brother or sister.
- Ask your child how they feel about having a baby brother or sister.
- Let your child now that they will always be special to you.
- Ask about their friends who have siblings to play with. In this way you will be creating a
- Make a fuss and be excited when you tell your child there is a new addition to the family on the way.
Take baby steps
Whether your pregnancy is planned or unexpected at that specific time, you will have to tell your little one about their new brother or sister sooner or later. I found with my second pregnancy that the sooner I revealed the news to my little one, the better he was able to adjust to the news.
I call my approach baby steps because when I found out I was pregnant again, I began leading my toddler with subtle hints of how much fun it would be for him to have a brother or sister – it turns out he will be getting a little sister.
The first thing I did was to talk about his friends at nursery school and how much fun playing with friends can be. I later stepped up the antics and spoke about families and especially about brothers and sisters.
At times there were long, and sometimes very funny, conversations between us about family and siblings. I spoke to him about the things brothers and sisters do together, and I made a point of answering all his questions no matter how many times he repeated them or how silly they were.
The day came when I finally broke the news to my little one that he would have a baby sister and that she was busy growing in my tummy just like he did.
He was over the moon with the news, but the excitement in my voice may have played a part in generating his confused but very sweet chuckles. He put his hand on my belly and said, “baby sister”. His touch was so soft and gentle, and his tone was that of an amazing discovery just unveiled.
The baby steps I took went on for about ten days, but it was worth every moment. My little one was getting his first big wish granted.
Different ages require different approaches
How you tell your little one that you are pregnant depends on how old they are, but the actual timing of the breaking news can either bring great joy or terrible tantrums.
A teething baby who is close to two years old will most likely be very clingy and reluctant to share the attention he or she gets from you.
On the other hand, if you have taught your little one the value and beauty of sharing with others and the timing of the news falls outside of one of the many phases little ones go through, then you can expect your little one to share in the joyous news.
Babies and toddlers have very little understanding of time so when you talk about waiting for so many months before their little brother or sister arrives, be prepared to repeat stories and answer the same questions over and over again.
As children get older, their understanding of time improves; however, the perception of time differs greatly between children and adults. As a mother, you must imagine how your little one views time and create stories that fit that perception of time.
Another important aspect is to reassure your little one that they are very special, deeply loved, and will always be cared for. Keeping their sense of security intact will make your pregnancy so much more pleasant.
Improvise a little
As your pregnancy develops, you will have to explain to your little one why you can’t pick them up or why using your growing belly as a bouncing ball is not allowed.
Keeping your child up to speed with the progress of your pregnancy will make them feel like they are a part of the journey.
You can even take your little one with you when you go for your check-ups, and they can listen to the sound of the baby’s heartbeat and see what the doctor is doing even if they don’t understand what’s happening. This early involvement is the first step to family and sibling bonding.
You will have to tell your older child why you can’t do certain things for them any longer.
Your child accepting your explanations may require you to improvise with a bit of drama to carry your point across, but young children easily fall into the parameters of new rules if they have behavioral boundaries in place already.
The big thing is not to overcompensate or resort to giving bribes in the form of treats. Be firm but loving and keep your older child as a close first member of your family.
When is the best time to tell my child that I’m pregnant?
The moment your pregnancy is confirmed, you can spend a few days preparing your child for the news. There is no need to draw out the baby steps like I did because the dynamics of every family differs. As long as you show consideration and reassure your older child of their place in the family, the remaining time of your pregnancy will be long enough for your child to grow used to the idea of a new family member.
What do I do if my older child rebels against my pregnancy?
This can be expected and is part of a child’s normal behavior but being close to you means that your child will automatically be a part of your pregnancy.
At first, your child may get sad and cry, but with a bit of TLC or maybe an outing to a children’s play area in the park, the tears will soon be forgotten.
To avoid this unnecessary trauma, I decided to break the news slowly to my son. I warmed him up to the idea of having a brother or sister, and it worked very well for both him and me.
How do I explain my pregnancy to my older child?
If your child is still very young, you should avoid the intricate biological details of how babies are made. Simply saying, “mommy and daddy decided to make you a baby brother or sister,” is enough.
Anything more than that, and your child will nod in agreement but will not understand. So keep your explanations simple and rather focus on the good it will bring for your older child and your family as a whole.
Telling your little one about your pregnancy is an adventure you get to take with your child. Get your child excited about the prospect of a brother or sister before you break the news to them.
If your child is clingy or ill at the time, rather wait for a little until they are back to health and feeling their normal self before you share the good news.
There is no wrong or right way of telling your child you are expecting, but it’s helpful to consider their feelings. Making your child a part of your pregnancy and engaging in conversations with your child about the new life growing inside you will make them more accepting of the changes to come.