How we’re helping our kids get used to the idea of a new family dynamic and becoming a family of five.
I remember the worries I felt when I was expecting my last baby. Would it change how I felt about my first born? Would I be able to love two children fiercely and without limits? Would I secretly favour one over the other? How could there possibly be room in my heart to love two people so utterly and completely and how could I love another baby as much as my first?!
Of course when Abby was born I was instantly in love for a second time and my heart seemed to spontaneously double in size. There was no favoritism but instead love for my two girls in different ways, for their different qualities and unique personalities.
This time around I don’t have those same worries about there being enough room in my heart, but I still have concerns about how our family dynamic will change.
Now I’m concerned about Abby, becoming a middle child, and how that might impact her. I’m worried about how she’ll handle less of my attention during those first few months, and if she’ll resent her little brother for taking her place as the baby of the family.
For so many years she’s been my little side-kick. Always with me at her big sisters’ activities, drop offs and pickups. Out of my two girls, Abby is the most like me. In fact, she’s a lot like me in looks AND in attitude.
So I worry that out of my two girls, Abby will struggle the most with the addition of a new sibling. And that the first few months will be especially hard on her.
So I’ve been taking a few steps to help ease the transition as best as I can.
Including the girls in getting ready for baby has been crucial. I asked Abby if she was interested in helping me pack the diaper bag and hospital bag and she loved the idea! She loved the responsibility of selecting the items off the list and helping me choose the outfits that would go into the bag.
Whenever possible I’ve been asking the girls to help prepare for their brother. I want them to feel like they have a part in this new little person who will be joining our family. Even though setting up the nursery has been a slow process, I’ve made sure to include the girls in some of the decor decisions, in selecting his clothes, his toys and some of the things we need around the house.
I’ve also been making an effort to spend alone time with each of the girls over the summer, and have tried to prepare them for some of the changes that lie ahead. We’ve had plenty of conversations about what new babies are like and what their needs are.
These talks give us the chance to share our feelings and let the girls know we’re listening to their concerns.
We’ve also made sure to keep them in all their regular sports and activities, despite how hectic it will be. I realize that dropping kids off and picking them up from after school sports will be so much more challenging with a newborn in tow, but it’s also important that the girls don’t feel like they’ve been made to give up something they love because of his arrival.
I took extra time in planning out their activities this year so that we’ll be able to carpool for much of the driving, which will help out a lot!
Will these things be enough to prepare them for the changes that lay ahead of us in the next few weeks? Honestly I’m not sure. I know it won’t be completely smooth and there will be a lot of adjustments for us all. But I’m also taking comfort in knowing that I’ve done what I can to make sure both girls, especially Abby, know how much I love them.