One of the biggest changes in a child's life involves the birth of a sibling. For many families, a second baby is often born when the first child is under five years old. This was our situation. My daughter turned 2 a month before my son was born. I worried so much about how she would adjust and whether she would feel left out or less special. While things did change, my love for her never did.
Is your family expecting another child soon? Do you already have a preschooler or kindergartner? How are you preparing your firstborn? Do you worry about how a new baby will affect him or her? Are you wondering how to tell your oldest child or how to help him or her adjust to a new sibling?
Well, help is on the way with PBS KIDS! This Monday, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood is welcoming a new character: Baby Margaret. The one-hour special will give children some of the tools they need to cope with the arrival of a new baby brother or sister. It explores the feelings a preschooler might feel when they find out a new baby is on the way.
Angela C. Santomero, the creator of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, also offers this advice to help parents share the news with their children.
- Don’t Spill the Beans too Soon – While it’s always helpful to prepare your preschooler about what to expect and talk with them about new experiences, young children don’t understand time the way adults do. Since it can be difficult for them to wait for events happening many months in the future, try to wait as long as possible to tell your child about the new baby.
- Discuss What to Expect When You’re Expecting – Talk with your child about what to expect from newborns – they sleep a lot, cry, and can’t play games or talk (at least not the same way as your preschooler can)! If you know a family or friend with a new baby, make a brief visit so your child can see firsthand what an infant can and can’t yet do.
- Crown Your New “Big Helper” – Involve your child in caring for their new sibling right from the start. Encourage them to pick out items for the baby’s room, get the diapers when it’s changing time, and sing or talk to the baby. Giving them specific ways to lend a hand helps preschoolers feel needed and more grownup.
- Make “Mommy/Daddy & Me Time” – When the baby arrives, set aside “just you and me” times with your older child. Whether it’s a trip to the library or simply reading a story together before bed, it’s important to make sure your older child doesn’t feel left out.
- Let Them Know How Proud You Are – Help your child to feel proud about being the older brother or sister by showing your appreciation for all the things they can do that the new baby can’t yet accomplish such as using their words. Reinforce your older child’s role in the family as the big brother or sister to the new baby.
Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings is geared towards kids ages 2-5 and is available on iPad. The app is designed to empower kids to identify and express their wide and complex range of emotions. The four socio-emotional activities in the app offer kids a variety of interactive ways to accomplish this.
Inside the app you'll find:
- Trolley Game – Drive the trolley to discover more than a dozen mini-games about feelings.
- Sing-Along – Choose from 18 of your favorite Daniel Tiger songs, each one fully animated.
- Drawing Easel – Use paints, crayons, stickers, and more to express yourself.
- Feelings Photo Booth – Take pictures of yourself that show lots of different feelings. Daniel will help you pose!