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Tips on welcoming a new baby to the family

August 22, 2003

To complement the release of the new video "Three Bears and a New Baby," Sesame Workshop's child development experts drafted tips for parents to prepare the rest of the family for the new addition. These tips, and others, are available on the Sesame Street Web site, www.sesamestreet.com:

  • Once you decide it is time to talk to your child about the baby, it is important to always be honest. Be up front about what will happen in advance. For instance, your child needs to know approximately when the baby will be born and that the baby will be a full-fledged member of the family. The older child also needs to be reassured that he'll still have his own special time with his parents even after the baby's arrival.

  • Make sure to be joyful and excited about the new baby but also recognize when your child is feeling serious. He will need to be able to talk to you about all of his feelings, not just the happy ones. It is important to involve your child in some of the planning for the new baby - for example, setting up space for a crib and laying out bathing supplies. Explain that the baby will need a lot of attention, but let your child know that you hope he can help too.

  • Your child may want to express herself in a variety of ways. Put out paper and crayons and suggest that she draw a picture of the family. What does he think the new baby will look like? Encourage your child to draw a picture for her new baby brother or sister so that she can show the new baby that she welcomes him or her to the family and to her new home.

  • Once the baby arrives home, try to keep some of your older child's routines as he adjusts. If he is used to you eating breakfast together, helping her with brushing her teeth, or reading a story at bedtime, try to do the activities as you normally would. This continued schedule can help your child feel more secure and safe.

  • Remind your child of all the things you love about him. Offer other reasons you love the new baby.

  • Rather than just handing down old clothes or toys to the new baby, have your child choose certain things she might like to give to the new baby brother or sister, as special gifts. Encourage your child to show these items to the new baby and perhaps tell stories about them. Take a picture while she is doing this because children love to see themselves celebrated as siblings in this way.
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