Mother Knows Best: Preparing Future Siblings for Baby

Alana Creel and her three children

Often, youngsters look forward to welcoming the newest addition to the family, but sometimes they need some help getting used to new roles and routines.

Alana Creel found this to be the case when she first brought home her son Waylon, now 2, to meet big sister Ava, now 4. And earlier this summer, Ava and Waylon were introduced to the newest addition to the Creel family: a baby boy named Hale.

What was it like introducing Waylon to first-time big sister Ava? How did you prepare her for her new baby brother? What challenges were there after bringing him home? What did you discover helped ease the transition?

We talked a lot about the baby when I was pregnant. She was still so young (18 months when Waylon was born), so I’m not sure she really understood. I just made sure she had one-on-one time with me. Like, one day I took her to get ice cream down the street. It’s hard to be gone for very long when you are nursing a newborn, so we were only gone for 30 minutes maximum, but it was something that just she and I did so she knew she didn’t lose her place as my baby, too.

What was it like bringing Hale home two years later? How did the older siblings react to the newest addition to the household?

Ava was much more excited about Hale because she understood more. He’s like a real, live baby doll so she was — and still is — obsessed with him. Waylon didn’t really understand and was not interested in Hale at all. He would come sit in my lap and try to push baby away, and he wouldn’t acknowledge the baby. We would ask if he wanted to hold him and he didn’t. He has now started asking to hold him and will randomly kiss him and “tickle” the baby. We just have to remind him to be gentle!

Now that all of your children have had time to acclimate to one another, how do you foster their confidence both in their roles within the group and as individuals?

I make sure to spend time with each one individually — usually just a trip to the store, but that way they have undivided time with me. My husband, Jimmy, does the same. We also praise them a lot in regards to their strengths. Sometimes it’s hard to balance everything with three kids so small, but we just have to make sure to take the time to let the big kids know they are still very important to us.