While a pregnancy is cause for celebration, soon-to-be siblings often feel anxious and confused, wondering how they will fit in the new family dynamic. Including your child in the baby countdown from the beginning can boost your child to big brother or sister status and help forestall any serious sibling rivalry. Start by sharing the good news with him before other family and friends. Then use activities that are fun and interactive so baby news seems like good news.
Using a calendar to count down the days to a big event may be something with which your child is already familiar. So creating an annual calendar with the birth month highlighted might serve as a good visual representation of what’s to come. You could also create your own version of the advent calendar. While it might be unwise to pinpoint an exact date, you can certainly hone in on the expected birth week. Create a calendar divided into weeks and have treats or rewards hidden at each week’s end. Consider mixing up the surprises. Perhaps one week’s reward is an ice cream dessert, while the next might be a day at the beach.
Kids love crafts and they love one-on-one time with Mom and Dad. Have the whole family work to create a paper chain that has as many days as you anticipate in your pregnancy from the time you tell your little one. Then, as you count down the days, pull off a link. The closer you get to your due date, the smaller the chain will become. Another craft your child might enjoy is coloring wooden clothespins -- one for each day leading up to the big event -- and then stringing them in an easy access area so he gets to be in charge of removing one each day.
Books and Videos
You’ve been reading to your child since the day she was born. As she prepares for a new baby brother or sister, create your own book-of-the-month club by choosing books with a mind to the big event. Buy one baby-themed book per month. As the day gets nearer, the pile gets bigger. “The New Baby,” by famed children’s television host Mister Rogers, the “I’m a Big Sister/Brother” books by Joanna Cole and “The New Baby" by Mercer Mayer are just a few examples of good books to share with toddlers. You can also include videos in your pile like “Arthur’s Baby” or Sesame Street's “A New Baby in My House.”
There’s an App for That
Of course there’s an app. Whether you choose to purchase something like the "Big Day App" from Apple, download a countdown clock to your computer or use something like the "Countdown Widget" from Google, you and your child can keep track of the days as they tick by and close in on baby day. There's even a free baby countdown app which you can customize with your personal preferences and photos. You can also simply set your smartphone to buzz at week intervals when you and your child are together and then tell him how many days might be left until he’s a big brother.