By Jodie Lynn
What is the best way to introduce the facts to our three-year-old son that I am pregnant he will soon be a big brother? We've tried but he says he doesn't want any babies in the house.
ANSWER FROM READER:
The best idea that worked for us was getting our four-year-old daughter involved in various decisions about the forthcoming baby. She helped to choose small items in the beginning and ended up helping us with the baby's middle name. She is one year older than your son and probably understood things easier, but if you give him an opportunity to help with little things, he may be more receptive towards becoming a new sibling. - Micah P. in Seattle, WA
You may be getting this response for one or more of several reasons. One that quickly comes to mind is perhaps he has playdates with friends who already have babies in the house and have been exposed to the baby crying. The actual crying can sometimes frighten children his age and younger because they don't quite understand what's wrong, the reason for it or how to help the infant. It's upsetting because kids feel like the baby must surely be in some sort of pain. He may also sense a totally different type of environment around friends and relatives who have babies than the one with which he is familiar. One can be relatively chaotic when the baby is awake compared to the more calm household to which he returns. Therefore, he may prefer and desire the calm surroundings just to have peace of mind and familiarity. Three-year-olds take in an enormous amount of visual and aural information and can quickly get overwhelmed to the point of total meltdowns. Keeping this in mind will greatly behoove future introductions to and interactions and experiences with becoming a big brother. For example, in the beginning, try to introduce him to a baby that is home, not out in a busy public place, but a quiet and safe area that will allow closer investigation and a more positive experience with a content and happy baby. Limit the visit to around no more than 20 minutes at a time for a couple of days each week. Talk to him about his feelings. Hang a picture of your son in the baby's room to make him feel important. Share how the new baby will appreciate him when he helps by getting a diaper, blanket, toy or whatever it needs. Take your time in slowly introducing him to the thought of becoming a big brother. You may find that "new sibling" classes, which are available in many communities, can be of great assistance as well.
CAN YOU HELP?
My six-year-old has had a best friend come over to play since she was three. They've gotten along pretty well until the last three months. Now my daughter doesn't want the other child around at all. How do I handle this when I am such good friends with her mom?
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