Now that we are past that half way mark, I have been thinking a lot more about how we are going to prepare Florence for becoming a big sister. With time speeding by and the next few months being busy with all sorts of events and festivities his arrival is going to come around quicker than we think and so over the next few months my focus really has to be on preparing her for that.
Making routine changes now rather than later
Florence has always been pretty routine led. She is a bit of a creature of habit and doesn’t really cope well when things go out of sync. Obviously certain elements of our day to day will have to change once baby arrives and to avoid it being such a huge shock to the system we have started to tweak a few things here and there already. We made some significant changes to bedtime a little while ago which have since gone awry due to it being quite a busy time here, but as of next week everything should go back to normal. With any luck we will have cracked bedtime again soon and our evenings will be newborn ready!
Things like setting aside times each day for independent and one to one play are also on our routine agenda. I’m going to try and match these up with standard feed & nap times for baby so that Florence gets a feel for our soon to be daily rhythm.
Enlisting her help
She’s starting to understand and carry out simple instructions now for example she will go and get a nappy out of the box when asked which once baby is here she’ll be able to do for him when it comes to nappy change time and will not only help her feel more involved but it’ll help me no end when I have my hands full.
Reading lots of books about babies
I’ve ordered a bunch of books for Florence all about being a big sister and babies. She loves stories and sitting down to read together and I think this is a great way to help her build a bit more of an understanding of her new role as a big sister as well as reassuring her that Mummy & Daddy still love her just as much.
Making babies just a regular thing
So, obviously Florence isn’t exactly used to babies – she’s only just grown from baby to toddler herself! – so the whole concept is a bit alien to her I would imagine. Making sure she had the opportunity to be around babies and is invited to interact with them is really going to help her build a bit of an understanding of how to behave around them. She has a baby cousin and her godparents have just recently had a little boy so we are just encouraging her to interact with them as much as we can. So far, shes been so good and doesn’t even blink when I have them on my lap and she’s definitely intrigued by them… so long as they don’t touch her she’s fine!
Including her when choosing things for baby
When we get nearer to the time, we are going to go out for a bit of a treat day when we have cake for breakfast in our favourite café and then hit the shops. I plan to get her to choose a couple of things to buy for the baby and then also choose a few things for herself. Involving her in the whole buying process, I hope will help her take a little pride in the things she chooses for her brother.
Talking openly about baby
So she might not completely understand what we’re going on about but I make a conscious effort to at least mention the baby to her a couple of times a day. Simple things like “I think the baby will like doing this when he comes.” and “ooo the baby is wriggling around in Mama’s tummy” are just gently ways of introducing him to her world. With any luck, she’ll be able to make a loose connection to my rambling when he actually arrives.
Putting together a Big Sister Basket
I’ll be putting a little big sister basket together for when baby actually arrives filled with some of Florence’s favourite treats & activities. This will also double up as a bit of a busy box for her to turn to when I’m feeding or settling the new baby.
Florence has suddenly taken a real liking to dollies and teddy bears and tries to dress them, feed them and wanders around the house with them in her toy pram making sure they’re all tucked in to their blankets. It’s very cute! I love how loving she is to her dolly and it gives me some confidence that actually she’s going to cope just fine! We’ve put a request in to Santa Claus to bring her a new baby and some bits for him and I think she’s going to love it!
Those are the steps we are taking to prepare our toddler for her new sibling. Fingers crossed by the time February comes she’ll be as prepared as she can be for her new role as big sister.