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Ask Grandma Maggie

Parenting & Childcare Advice
Peggy Moss (1933-2014), also known as Grandma Maggie, penned a parenting column on this site for many years. Back by popular demand, we are republishing the column, sharing with you the best of Grandma Maggie’s parenting and childcare advice.
Unfortunately Grandma Maggie is no longer able to take questions.

I’m pregnant and I’m worried how my other children will react.
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I have two children, Josie 4 and Ike 2. They are both very nice children. The only thing is that my husband and I have recently found out that I am pregnant. The baby is due in February. I want to tell Josie especially, but I don’t know how she’ll react. Josie was a little too young to even understand when Ike was born, but now she’s mature enough to get that things will NOT be the same after the baby is born. Do you have any advice on what I can say to ensure a positive attitude of my sweet little Josie?

Thanks so much,

Justine 

Dear Justine,

Well, here’s the first error I can see and that is wanting to ensure a positive response to a new baby from an older child. It doesn’t always happen that way. The best you can do is accept how Josie feels about the other children and be realistic. If she complains tell her, “Yes, sometimes babies take time from older children, but I want to still spend as much time with you as possible” and then do it. The best thing about older kids is they can be engaged verbally while you are taking care of an infant. That’s the time to bring out a video and watch with them as you feed the other children. Or have her pick a book and ‘read’ it to you. Josie is also at the time in her life where she will be interested in her friends. Try play dates for her with other children in the neighborhood or from pre-school if she is enrolled in one. She is at the age where she will be developing her social skills with others and this should help somewhat. I would venture to say you might have more of a problem with Ike, than with Josie.

Good luck!
Grandma Maggie