Finding out you’re going to have another baby is an exciting time for your family. You may be wondering how your child will react to the news of their new little brother or sister. Depending on their age and personality, there’s a neverending list of possible reactions to this news. You know your child best and only you can decide what way to approach it. Here are our tips for when and how to tell your child about your pregnancy.
Also, if you’re wondering about how to introduce your child to your baby, read our blog post “How To Introduce Your Child To Their New Baby Sibling”.
Wait until you’re announcing it to others
Let’s be honest, keeping your pregnancy a secret is hard enough for adults, so it’s a tall order for a child. Wait until you’re comfortable with the whole world knowing about your pregnancy just in case your little one is super excited and wants to shout it from the rooftops! This timeframe is different for everyone, but many choose to wait until after their first scan, or after the 12 week mark.
Choose a time when you’re feeling good
The first trimester can be a rough time. Telling your child about your pregnancy during this stage may make them feel angry towards the baby as they see you exhausted and sick. This can give them a negative view of the pregnancy which can be hard to undo.
Choose a time when they're feeling good
Avoid revealing the news during a time of stress for your child. This could be a big event like starting creche, playschool or school, or a less significant event like right after a meltdown about how much they don’t want to eat their dinner. Aim for a time when they’re feeling calm so they’re able to process your big announcement.
Avoid fancy announcements
In this case, the simple approach is best. Sit down with your child and calmly but cheerfully reveal the news of their new brother or sister. This gives them the opportunity to process the news in a safe space with no expectations on them. Some children may feel upset at the prospect of having to “share” their parents with a baby, so having lots of people and cameras around may make them feel embarrassed and upset.
Tell them as a family
If possible, have your partner there when you tell your child about your pregnancy. This helps them to see the news as a good thing for the whole family and gives them the extra support from having their other parent present.
Be open to all reactions
As mentioned before, your child may not be full of joy when you tell them about your pregnancy. This is not something to be upset about, it’s just your child’s way of processing the information. Listen to any questions or concerns they may have and answer in a calm reassuring manner. If your child is upset about the news then they’re most likely feeling insecure right now, so you being upset with them will only make them feel worse and possibly resentful of the baby.
Help them understand when the baby will be coming
Your child might feel immediately impatient once they hear the news of their baby brother or sister. Asking “when will the baby be here?” will become the new “are we there yet?”. Give them context of when the baby will be born to help soothe their impatience. Telling your child “there are still 5 months to go” may mean nothing to them. Try to relate your baby’s due date to another event that’s more tangible for them, for example: “the baby will be here after the Easter Bunny comes”.
Make them your official pregnancy announcer
Help your child to feel involved by giving them the task of delivering the news to family and friends. They’ll love the attention and enjoy everyone’s delighted reactions to their special news. This further instills the idea that the baby’s arrival is a very exciting and positive thing.