Grandparents: how to help bring siblings home
Baby number two is on its way and you have the task of taking care of your older grandchild while baby number two is being born. This is a great opportunity for you to help far beyond a day or two of childcare.
Having a brand new brother or sister can take some adjusting. But there is a lot you can do to help make that transition a smooth one and prepare your grandchild for their new job of being a big bro or sis.
Here are a few ideas that could help:
Start well before the birth
Prepare your grandchild for their special role as a big brother or sister well ahead of time by talking about how things will change.
Ensure you talk about the transition in a positive way, but be open to listening to concerns and helping them work through any anxiety they may be feeling.
Talk it up
Talk about the benefits of having siblings by telling stories about you and your siblings when you were growing up, and some of the adventures or fun things you did together. Perhaps you could even talk about how tough it was to adjust to having a sibling at first, but that it turned out to be a positive experience for everyone.
Not feeling left out
Stock up on a few age appropriate small gifts to give to the older child – for when people bring gifts for the baby, and also activities for when Mum and Dad are busy with the baby in the early days.
Colouring books, puzzles, games, small toys are all good. But do ensure it doesn’t require constant guidance or help from mum and dad as this will negate the benefits of the gift!
Set aside some special time to spend with your older grandchild – not just while the baby is being born, but into the future as well.
The baby won’t be ready to come for sleepovers or on special trips to the movies or the museum just yet. But these activities are something that older siblings might enjoy, just the two of you.
And spending special time with you can reassure them that they are still important. It also gives mum and dad some time to themselves.
Make them helpers
Teach your grandchild a few baby care basics that they can help out with at home. Can they help by getting fresh nappies at change time? Or getting the baby’s clothes at bath time?
Bonus grandparent point
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For bonus grandparent points, you can help out the parents by:
- Preparing a few meals and leaving them in the freezer.
- Delivering some groceries or fruit and vegetables.
- Take dirty laundry home with you when you leave and bring it back folded and ready to put away.
- Supporting their parenting choices and giving them some space to establish their new family.
- Holding that gorgeous new baby and showing your older grandchild how to interact with it while its mother showers or takes a nap.
Of course, your level of involvement will depend on many factors, and these are just a few ideas to get you started. The best tip, above all others, is to respect the wishes of the parents, and be led by them. The grandparent bond is a special one, and this opportunity for you to spend one-on-one time is precious. Enjoy!