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preparing 4 year old for arrival of newborn

(11 Posts)
traceface Tue 16-Sep-08 09:22:20

I have a 4 year old girl and am due my second in december. At the mo she's v excited about the baby but I'm worried about how she'll cope with not being the only one after so long. She also starts school in January so has lots of change to cope with all at once. Any advice?

compo Tue 16-Sep-08 09:24:05

Just keep her informed o what is happening
Maybe get a couple of books from the library - The Special Surprise is a nice one and There's a House inside my mummy (think it's called that) but there are loads
My ds liked Spot's Baby sister but he was 2 (although he still likes it now)

traceface Tue 16-Sep-08 09:25:35

Thank you. Will get myself to the library! she loves books so that will go down well I'm sure.

sandcastles Tue 16-Sep-08 09:43:55

The book dd has is called "What's inside mummy's tummy'. It has a month a page & has al sorts of lovely details, like how big the baby [comparing it to everyday objects] & real size pictures of what the baby looks like!

We made dd [5 now, but was 4 when baby due] a baby journal.

Just a note pad that she could draw in, put stuff in [she has a copy of the scan pic, a pic of my belly, a copy of a poem I found when she was a baby etc]. She would tell us how we are feeling & we would write it down in the journal for her.

She used to sing to the baby [thru my mouth as she was convinced this was the only way baby could hear]. I let her rub cream on my tummy.

We have had no problems. She loves her little sister & helps out lots [although we don't pressure her to] and the only adverse behaviour we got was a mini tantrum at bedtime for a few weeks, as she hated that dd2 was still 'up' when she went to bed. So If dd2 is not asleep, we out her in her bassinet while we do bedtime.

I made sure we still had special time with her. Dh watches a fave programme of hers, or plays footie in the garden. I bake, take her to lunch now & then, paint/draw etc.

I am feeding dd2, so we use that time to read, as she turns the pages of the book while I read it to her.

Dd2 brought dd1 a special gift in the hospital & dd1 brought dd2 a teddy & a toy dog [which she is 'looking after' for her. She helped us choose clothes etc.

PinkyDinkyDooToo Tue 16-Sep-08 16:08:52

Ds1 had just turned 4 when DS2 was born.

We did the present thing. DS2 got DS1 Scooby Doo stuff. This was guaranteed to make him an instant hit. He couldn't believe his baby brother knew he liked Scooby Doo. DS1 also went shopping with DH on the day DS2 was born to get him something special.

Don't worry it will probably be fine. DS1 really had no problems at all.

milkmoustache Tue 16-Sep-08 16:13:45

The age gap will really help here: DD (3 + 4 months) has been great since teh arrival of DS 2 wks ago, partly because we can explain stuff over and over - she is reassured that DS is crying because he's hungry or whatever, and we told her in advance that he isn't going to be able to play with her for ages. There are loads of great books out there and DD did spontaneously want to read them beforehand and now quotes bits back at us! She proudly wears the bead necklace that DS 'gave' her every day. The whole thing has gone much more smoothly than we dared hope - so far!

LadyPenelope Tue 16-Sep-08 16:15:43

Age gap same for my DD and DS - she was also very excited when I was pregnant and that continued after birth. She loved him from the moment she saw him and I was amazed how much she put up with from him when he got home!

We never blamed baby for anything - eg, we can't go out today because of baby, or we can't do xyz because of baby etc. We did our best to make sure that life for DD got even better now there was baby in the house.

And in first few weeks/months we took advantage of lots of extra help to allow time alone with Mummy, Daddy, grandparents etc.

Plus gifts for baby and for her, DVDs for us both to watch while I was breastfeeding, playdates etc.

LadyPenelope Tue 16-Sep-08 16:19:31

One other thing - other than feeding baby, when help was on hand, I often handed DS over and spent time with DD. (Eg, Left changing, rocking etc to DH if DD wanted to do something with me.) She got plenty of 1:1 attention from me and DS didn't know any different. DD was also at school some of day so that was my time for being alone with him and giving him undivided attention.

FrockHorror Tue 16-Sep-08 16:31:37

Keep telling her what a big girl she is.

Always let her know that even though you have another baby, she too will always be your baby and that you are a lucky mummy to have 2 babies.

Praise every little (positive) thing she does.

Always try and have 1-1 time away from the baby with DD. We had a pyjama party (DVD, popcorn etc) in the afternoon, closed the curtains and snuggled under the duvet on the sofa. DD wrote (well, copied) a sign for the front door that said "No boys allowed" and DH was ordered to take DS out for some boys time. Our next girls night will be nail polish, I'm going to let her loose on my make up. We won't be going anywhere and it will just be the 2 of us.

I gave her a much longed for Stephanie (Lazytown) rucksack when I was pg and told her it was from DS. When she asked how he knew she loved Stephanie when he was in my tummy, I told her it was because he could hear only special voices in my tummy and he must of heard her, decided he loved her already and then told me he wanted to buy her a present. In the first few weeks after his arrival, DS would "buy" her little presents, like a bar of chocolate or a dress in the sales. She always refers to her presents as coming from DS.

Let her help choose a pack of sleep suits or similar.

Take her into her bedroom and ask her that as she is now a big girl and is going to be a big sister, are there any babyish toys she thinks she doesn't need anymore. Get her to decorate a cardboard box to keep the toys in to give to the new baby and then as the baby grows, ask DD to show the baby how to play with them, because the baby won't know unless his/her big sister shows him/her. Also means DD's room gets a good clear out because you can chuck broken or ruined things, by putting them in the baby's box wink

Stories are good. Some good recommendations already on this thread.

Milliways Tue 16-Sep-08 16:50:30

And prepare yourself for the 4 yr old verbalising what most Toddlers just scream about when the baby novelty wears off..

We had:
"It's not fair, THAT BABY gets pushed everywhere and I have to walk on my achey legs"

"Do you love THAT BABY more than me"!!!

"Mummy, will you ever play with me again" (When I was breastfeeding for the millionth time one frantic day)

etc etc

But, she was fine the other 99% of the time

We knew baby was a boy, so could talk about Baby brothers (she had wanted a girl, so got over that one before the birth) and I also rescheduled her activities (eg swimming,ballet) before the birth so not everything changed after it as she started school just after the birth.

kitkat9 Tue 16-Sep-08 17:36:26

when your dd is brought to the hospital to see you and newborn for the first time, try to make sure that you're not holding nb at that moment - have our arms open for a cuddle from dd, then together you can cuddle nb.

I had a 3 yr gap between my ds and dd, and it went a lot smoother than I anticipated - there were a few meltdowns in the first few weeks, but overall ds is fantastic with his wee sister. He quickly realised that she couldn't play with him and didn't do anything of any interest to him, so more or less ignored her. In fact, the only issue I had was that ds wouldn't even touch her for the forst maybe 6 weeks...but I figured that this was preferable to him manhandling her too roughly!

Do the present thing too...esp if there's something special your dd wans, and have it in your hospital bag so she gets it straight away.

The best you can do is to keep chatting about when the new baby comes, point out babies to her on the tv or when you're out and about, read to her about a new baby coming into the family.

As for starting school, she might just be happy to go off and have some fun with her new friends...try to get her excited at the thought of it, keep mentioning it so she knows it's coming.

You'll all be fine, good luck!

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