In a recent post, I addressed helping children prepare for the birth of a new sibling, but this time around I want to focus on you, the parents. Adding another child to your family is a significant transition for you, too.
This post includes two types of tips for parents of growing families; parenting tips and self care tips. I suggest paying attention to both types of tips. They are both important areas of focus during this time of transition.
The parenting tips and considerations are designed to help you consider possible responses that you may notice in your child or yourself. This list is not intended to overwhelm you, but rather introduce possibilities so that you can prepare and know that you are not alone if your family struggles a bit. Remember that this is a period of transition and even if your family has some difficulty adjusting, it will not last.
I barely write a post that doesn’t reference self care in some way. Self care is essential for everyone. This is especially true for parents and an area that I personally found more difficult to prioritize after my second child was born. I hope that including self care tips in this post will help you give yourself permission prioritize self care. We can’t be the parents we want to be if we don’t take care of ourselves, too.
Parenting Tips & Considerations:
- Expect to see a variety of emotional responses from your older children during your pregnancy and following the birth of a new sibling. It is difficult to predict how our children will respond to the birth of a new sibling. Your child may respond exactly as you expect, but your child may respond in a completely unexpected way. Examples of emotional responses you may see include; anxiety, excitement, confusion, irritability, disinterest, jealousy and more. You may also notice changes in your child’s behaviors.
- Your interactions with your older children may seem a little different. Try not to take your older children’s reactions personally. Your older children may need a little space to adjust to the birth of their new sibling. Continue to offer your older children clear messages that you love them and they are important to you, while also giving them the space they may need.
- Be prepared for some setbacks with milestones for your older children following the birth of a younger sibling. For example, your child may experience some difficulties with separation, sleeping or toileting.
- Be forgiving of yourself (and your partner and your children) if you do not have as much patience as you normally do or respond in a way that you later regret. Apologize when needed and consider how you want to approach things differently in the future, but don’t beat yourself up. We all have moments where we experience less patience when we are tired and overwhelmed.
- Allow yourself time to adjust and create new routines for your growing family.
- Continue to check in with your partner and make sure you are on the same page.
- Ask for support when you need it. You may need more support during this pregnancy/postpartum period than your last and that is ok.
- Accept help when others offer. Accepting help from others may be a way to help you find time to connect with each of your children individually. Accepting help from others may also help you create opportunities for you to focus on self care, which is a necessity so you can be the best parent you can be.
- Think about how to create moments for self care. Consider checking out my post on 10 Self Care Tips for New Parents for more self care ideas.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and looking for some extra support for your growing family, I may be able to help. I offer counseling services for parents, children and families in Eagan, Minnesota. In addition, consider checking out my workshop schedule to see if any of my upcoming offerings may fit your needs.