Bringing home a new baby to meet their brother or sister is such a huge event for a growing family. The oldest has just been bumped from an "only" to a "big". And that is a BIG deal. It's a transition period for sure, and all children react differently.
When we brought my youngest daughter home from the hospital, she gave her big sister a "gift" of new dress-up clothes. Clearly, this went over really well for my girly toddler at the time and I think it helped bridge the beginning of their relationship. There are lots of methods of how to adapt during this time, and I love that every family is unique in their methods.
When it comes to the newborn session, parents often feel another added layer of stress when including the older sibling.
Will she behave?
Will he cooperate with the photographer?
Will they knock the baby off the bed?!
LOL! I get it. Been there. Today I'm sharing a few tips on how to prepare, include and encourage your older child during a newborn session.
1. Bring on the praise. Toddlers and preschoolers love to hear how they are making their parents proud. Whenever they do something thoughtful or kind in regards to the baby, jump quickly to praise them.
What a great helper you are bringing the diapers and wipes over.
She is so lucky to have a big brother like you!
He's looking at you, he thinks you're so funny!
All of that sets the tone for those first couple of weeks at home when a newborn session is usually scheduled.
2. Assign a job and ask questions. Kids love helping. They love having something to do. I will often ask them to get me a blanket or toy during the session. I'll ask them to draw me a picture or tell me about their favorite toy. When they know they are included and appreciated in the process, they are usually willing to cooperate.
3. Don't force it. If you have an image in your head of THE perfect image you want to recreate, have grace in knowing your child's disposition. Are they willing to snuggle and kiss the new baby? Some kiddos are all about it! But, if they're not, it's never a good idea to force or cajole them. The session can take a sharp nosedive if a toddler feels told what to do - no surprise there LOL! Just let the moment pass, and usually kids will come back and try again on their own terms. That is totally okay. Keep laying on the praise and watch what happens!