When to Tell Older Children about Pregnancy
It’s hard to keep a secret, especially when it’s a life-changing event like the upcoming birth of a new baby! If you have other children, especially older kids, you might wonder when the best time to make the big announcement is. If you tell your clan too early, the nine months that it takes for the little sister or brother to arrive can seem like an eternity. Plus, the risk of miscarriage is highest in the first trimester. If you wait until you’re further along, it may be hard to hide the morning sickness symptoms or your expanding belly. If mom looks sick or bloated, the kids will want to know why!
When Should You Make the Announcement?
There’s really not a “best” time to announce to your older kids that a new family member is on the way. It depends on your kids and how your pregnancy is going. Do you need their help because you’re having severe morning sickness symptoms or other unpleasantness that go along with being pregnant? If so, breaking the news earlier might be better.
Don’t forget, the announcement is a big one. So, be prepared for varied reactions to the news. If this is your second child, your first child may feel like they’ll play second fiddle to the new baby and experience emotional turmoil as a result. Remember, your first child has been the sole focus of your attention until now. Anticipate the range of emotions your child might feel from happiness that they’ll have a little sister or brother to sadness that they won’t be the only child anymore.
If you have a history of miscarrying, consider waiting until the end of your first trimester to break the news. At this point, your chance of carrying the pregnancy is higher. It can be traumatic to a child to hear that a new brother or sister is on the way and then discover the baby didn’t make it.
Make Your Whole Family Feel Special
After making the announcement, get your kids involved in preparing for the new family member. The more of an active role they play, the more they’ll enjoy the idea of having a new sister or brother. If your kids show signs of jealousy, ask their opinion and make it clear that you value what they say. Get their thoughts on what to name the new baby and what kind of toys they might like. Let them know their role in the family is important. Remind them that they’re about to become a big brother or big sister and what a special role that is. Make sure that with all the preparation for the new arrival that your existing children don’t feel slighted. Keep them involved! Another option is to attend a sibling preparation class sponsored by a local hospital.
By doing these things, you can help your children quickly form a new bond with their new sister or brother and the whole family will be happier as a result.
Parenting.com. “How to Prepare Your Child for a New Sibling”
Michigan Health System. “New Baby Sibling”