Updated: Apr 2, 2019
Transitioning Older Kids to Baby no 3 - Whether its your second or more I'm certain my experience shared below can still be helpful!
When we planned to have a third baby, I tried to do some searching to see what moms of 3 found life to be like. To my surprise, I found a lot of information about having baby no 2, but not much information on transitioning to a third. Perhaps I didn't search hard enough, nonetheless, I knew that’ this is what we chose to do, whether the internet had anything to say about it, or not.
Honestly, I was totally excited from the very moment we decided we are having our third little one, but due to the many complications I experienced pre and post getting pregnant the first two times, I didn’t expect that it would happen so soon. It had been 6 years since my son Connor was born, August 2017, to be precise, when we decided to have the Merina removed and start trying. We also committed that if nothing happened by December of that year we would stop trying and settle with two kids. As destiny would have it, come October 2nd, 2017, I took a test, and what do you know, it was POSITIVE. Literally took a month and I was pregnant.... Its been a roller-coaster ride from thereon. We laugh a lot at the fact that September is a "good" month LOL since both our boys were born in May LOL....moving along!
Exactly 38 weeks into the pregnancy our gorgeous boy Jentzen Myles was born. We were and still are totally smitten by him.
In hindsight the two older darlings were never ever going to be sufficiently prepared for him. They were 7 and 6 at the time he was born. We tried our best to involve them in the entire process, like ask for name suggestions, show them pictures of scans and even took them for a doctor’s appointment which was special.
“But I don’t think anything could have prepared them for the overwhelming love, and miracle of having a new born and that little bit of chaos that was to come… "
We however made it a point not to overcompensate for the fact that we were having a new baby, and funny enough the kids saw it as part of life. We made it fun and deliberately showed them we still loved and valued them even though there was a new baby coming. We also kept driving the point that having a new addition will only make life better. There were a few attention seeking situations that we had to deal with for sure, but we reinforced our feelings of love and security, and those stints were quickly brought to zero. In the end they survived…Its all part of life and growing up right!
Now before I continue if you have much older kids, that are more mature and at an age of understanding, then this advice may not work ....My experience was with younger kids but if your experience was with kids older than 12ish and you have some advice, please go ahead and share them in the comments section below.
That said, we've found that in the transition period it was important for us to be aware of/do the following…
Changes in your child/children’s behaviour (if they are quiet and reserved when they normally wouldn’t be, or doing mischievous things) it could be them wanting some extra TLC
Involve them in the process building up to the birth, talk about the stages, show them scans, etc
Make the process of baby coming fun
Teach them boundaries beforehand (e.g. my kids were not allowed to pick up the baby or touch the baby’s face or head because it's delicate. We talked about it a lot prior to the baby being born in a calm gentle way and answered any questions they had to avoid new rules once the baby was already there. This meant they were prepared and asking them not to touch the baby's head as an example was not new or hurtful perhaps)
Make allowances when they have down days
Give them big brother/sister responsibilities, whether its passing the wipes or fetching the bottle. Be reasonable though and don't expect too much depending on their ages.
Make time for each them in little ways - be realistic and intentional about splitting your time and attention
Not only is parenting in the 21st century no easy task…it’s an even bigger responsibility. Attending to one kids needs, may mean losing out on time with the other kid and that’s when planning and make intentional choices become paramount. Theres no reason to feel guilty beacuse its all part of growing up right but i reckon it does help to be abit more intentional.
If we want our kids to contribute to our families and society at large in a positive way, it’s going to take some investment and it must start somewhere. Very often these times of significant change and transitions can play a huge role in shaping our children so supporting them as best we can, is what we need to do!