Break Out the Baby Equipment to Aid in Sibling Preparation

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Guest author Rachel Cedar will be joining the New York Kids Club for a workshop on Thursday, September 13, 2012.  Sign up here

Often second time parents are too busy, too tired or too worried about their toddler’s adjustment to think about getting the house prepared for the newest little one’s arrival. However, setting up the old baby equipment (or purchasing new items) and getting everything ready approximately a month before your due date is an excellent way to help prepare your toddler to become a big sibling.

Here are some reasons why you should go ahead and dust off that bassinet and bouncy seat a little bit early:

*Children are innately curious about new toys and contraptions so if you wait to introduce the swing until your newborn is IN it, you will have to fight to keep your toddler away. Bringing equipment into the home before baby’s arrival will give your toddler time to satisfy his natural curiosity about what everything is and how it works without posing a safety risk to your baby. You will also feel significantly less stressed when a baby doll is catapulted out of the bouncy seat, not the real infant. Giving your child a chance to investigate each item on his own will also help the novelty and appeal wear off before you bring baby home.

*Letting your child play with the baby equipment gives you an excellent opportunity to teach about the “dos” and “don’ts” of each item. Use a baby doll in the swing or bouncy seat and model how you bounce the baby softly, or push the swing gently. Demonstrate how the baby lays on the play mat and show your toddler how he can lay nearby–but not on top of—the baby. Your toddler will be more receptive to learning what is and isn’t okay before the baby’s arrival when he has 100% of your attention and you will thank yourself later for taking the time to teach him these skills before you are sleep deprived and inpatient.

*Most little kids love to “help” around the house so getting the baby equipment set up gives you an opportune time to give your child a special job. Ask her to help you choose a spot for the play mat, or give her a sponge and let her help you wipe down the carseat. Including your toddler in the preparation will help her feel important, included and more connected to the baby.

*Having a new baby in the house is enough of a change, so bringing home or setting up all the extra stuff at the same time can feel that much more overwhelming. Avoid dramatically changing the landscape of the living room with new toys and contraptions the same day that the baby comes home by doing it ahead of time. It will make for a smoother transition and adjustment in those early weeks.

And finally, a bonus to getting the equipment out a little early is that YOU will feel more prepared by having everything set up, cleaned and organized. That goes a long way for your own emotional and mental health, which is so important, especially in the final weeks of your pregnancy.

For more useful and informative information about how you can prepare your Big Kid to become a Big Sib, join us on Thursday, September 13th at 6:30pm at the New York Kids Club.

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