One of the first fears of parents when expecting another baby is how your older children will react. Sibling jealousy is very common and natural. How to prepare Ate will depend on her age and level of interest. As part of your pregnancy planning, here are some tips to help handle and/ or avoid this situation.
1) Tell her the good news and make her one of the first to hear about it.
Share the good news to your firstborn and explain to her that she will be an Ate in a few months. Her new title will make her feel proud. Tell her first and then let her announce the good news to friends and relatives.
2) Involve her as much as possible in the preparations.
It is of utmost importance to not alienate your firstborn during this momentous change. Talk about the coming changes in a very positive light. Make “talking” to the growing bump in your belly a family bonding activity. You can also make her feel the baby move and kick. Discuss possible names and even get her opinion on them. When preparing the baby’s new things, involve her and let her help set up her sibling’s new crib, new toys, etc. This is her baby too and the more involved she is, the more easily she’ll fall in love with her new baby sibling. I loved it when my firstborn talked to my pregnant belly and said, “Shobe (Chinese for little sister) come out na! I want to play with you na!”
Once you’ve given birth, continue involving Ate. This may be a bit harder to do since you’ll now be preoccupied with the new baby and are worried that Ate might do more harm than good. But this is actually the time to pay more attention to your firstborn. Since Ate can’t help out with most of the tasks involving the new baby, find instances where she can. For example when you’re changing the baby’s diaper, ask her if she would like to help mom by getting a new diaper for her little sister. Or she can hold her baby sister’s towel while mom gives the baby a bath. Or make her entertain her new sibling with a song or a dance. These special tasks all contribute in making your firstborn fit into her role of Ate.
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Click here tor read more tips on how to prepare your firstborn to become an ate or kuya.