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From One to Two – How to Prepare your Older Child for A New Baby

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by Serene Chia

When I found out I was going to be a mum again, the news came with a mix of joy and nerves. I had a three-year-old daughter who was everything to me, and I was worried about how she would react to having a new sibling. Here are my learnings on how to prepare your older child for a new baby.

As my pregnancy progressed, my husband and I started preparing her for the arrival of the new baby. We had honest conversations where we told her that things would be different when the baby came. I remember her big eyes welling up with tears and her little arms holding me so tight when I went to the hospital. Even though she didn’t fully comprehend the situation, I knew she could sense that things were about to change.

After my son was born, it became harder to juggle everything. But I promised myself that I would make time for my daughter every day.

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Sometimes, it was as simple as reading her a story before bed or listening to her recount her playtime adventures. Those moments helped remind her that she was still important to me, even though the baby required so much of my attention.

I also found ways to involve her in caring for her little brother. I would ask her to “help Mummy by getting a nappy” or “sing a song to make the baby smile.” She loved feeling needed, and I enjoyed seeing her embrace her new role.

When she needed space, I gave it to her, knowing that she was still learning how to be a big sister. Throughout the changes, I made it a point to tell her every day that one thing would never change: how much I loved her.

Now, my children are six and three, and while some days are challenging, seeing them play together, help each other, and share secret giggles makes it all worth it. I often remind them that they will always have each other, no matter what.

These experiences inspired me to write my second book, I Love My Little Brother. It’s about the little things I learned from helping my daughter welcome a new sibling and the love that grows instead of divides.

My hope is that by sharing my story, other parents will feel encouraged and supported as they embark on this beautiful journey of growth and love.

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For anyone expecting their second child, remember that it’s the small things that count. The conversations, the time spent together, letting your older child help, and reminding them that they’re loved just as much as ever.

Here are other practical tips endorsed by clinical psychologist Dr Jean Cheng to help your older child adjust to their new sibling. 

Before baby's arrival

Read books on welcoming a new sibling

Borrow or buy children’s picture books such as “I’m a Big Sister” by Joanna Cole, “I Am a Big Brother” by Caroline Jayne Church and “I Love My Little Brother” by Serene Chia that teach kids about becoming an older sibling.

Find my full list of book recommendations here

As you read together, it’s a wonderful opportunity to discuss the fun to look forward to when a new sibling arrives.

Be brave to also allow your child to share any apprehension they may have about the changes to come.

Do not rush them out of their apprehension. Simply thank them for sharing their concerns with you.

Just after birth

Prepare a gift for your eldest

Give a gift to the eldest, saying it’s from the baby. This sets the stage for a reciprocal relationship, helping the older child experience that they will also be at the positive end of receiving from the baby i.e., the baby will also bring joy and love to them.

In The First Year

Talk about milestones

Facilitate empathy skills by helping your older child’s ability to consider their younger sibling’s experience and developmental stage as one that is different from their own.

For example, saying, “the baby rolled over for the first time today. I remember when you first rolled over. We were so excited! You had more strength in your body to turn around. Today you can even run! Interesting how it takes time to build each skill, isn’t it?”

You can find the entire tips sheet at serenechia.com/brother.

Children’s Stories Book

About Serene

My journey into writing began when my daughter was born. I wanted to create stories that would help my daughter—and other children—learn more about themselves and the world around them.

Now a mother of 2, my goal is to bring families closer together, inspiring meaningful conversations among readers of all ages.

I Love My Little Brother

My book is about the whirlwind of emotions an older sister experiences when a new baby arrives. Central to the story is the message that a new sibling brings even more love into a family.

What makes this book so special is that it tells the story from the older sister and the parent’s perspective, making it very relatable for an older sibling.  

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