How do I prepare my daughter (an only child) for a younger sibling? She is four and I am expecting in 5 months, God willing.

–Worried Mom (United States)


It’s important to set the tone. If you are worried about talking to your daughter about a new sibling or worried about her reaction to the news, she will pick up on that energy and might think the addition to the family is something to fear. Feel the joy of the new addition to the family and she will likely share in the enthusiasm.

You might also want to institute some gradual changes so she doesn’t associate any “negative” changes with the new baby. For example, if you know you’re going to have to institute some changes your child might not like (like an earlier bedtime or your child needing to take on a new task like getting dressed on her own), then make those changes gradually a month or two before the baby comes so that she doesn’t associate the baby with having to make changes she might not like.

You might also want to talk to her about some of the exciting parts about being an older sister and what that might mean for her. You might also want to start a new ritual with your older child when you bring the baby home—even a special one-on-one time 5 or 10 minutes every day where you talk together or read a book or sing a song can be one new ritual you can create with your oldest child to remind them that they are special to you.

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