How to prepare little ones for a new sibling, with Anna Friend

By Anna Friend, author of the Big Little Hearts series
By Anna Friend, author of the Big Little Hearts series

I am the author of the Big Little Hearts series, created with illustrator Jake Biggin and published by Scholastic UK. The series has been created to support young children and their families or carers through difficult or challenging times. The first book was published in March 2021 and is called When Can I Go Back to School?, then followed up in December 2021 by Who Will Love Me When You’re Gone?, a book about grief and loss. The latest in the series, How Will It Be With Baby and Me?, is out now and I’m delighted that it’s available for families who are expecting a new baby into their lives. All of our books are there to support Early Years children and are an honest and open conversation, told from a child’s perspective. They contain supportive material at the back, including mindfulness activities, as well as useful links.

All the books in the series were written by me in response to an event in my life. How Will It Be With Baby and Me? was written when I was pregnant with my second child and thinking about my whether my eldest might be worried about how life would be when the new baby arrived. I wrote this book to create something for my children and also as part of a process for myself, trying to understand how my eldest child might be feeling. He was only two years old and so not able to express any worries but I felt that he might be anxious about how things would change when his sibling arrived. I used to write a lot when I was a child and I always enjoyed storytelling; I guess it’s how I work things out in my head.

My top tips for helping children cope with any worries they might have when a new sibling is expected is to involve them as much as possible and chat with them as much as possible:

  • Talk to them about what’s happening with the baby – are they wiggling yet?
  • Share some of these experiences with them – let them feel the baby kick!
  • Lie together and pick a note to hum with your child – this sound will travel down to the baby and all of you will be sharing in that moment together!
  • Create something special with them to hang in the room that the baby will sleep in or that could be taken to the hospital for the first visit!
  • Ask them what they think the baby will be like/look like. Show them pictures of them as a baby so they can see how their journey started too! And your baby pics too!

How Will It Be with Baby & Me? A new baby story for big brothers and sisters
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How Will It Be With Baby and Me? is a moving yet reassuring journey through a child’s feelings of anxiety about a new arrival. With his mum announcing that he will have a new baby brother Jack is worried what will happen when he arrives… Will Mummy take her love for Jack and give it away?

“My love for you will never change,
Its warmth and glory stay the same…”

  • With mindfulness activities for families to do together to combat feelings of anxiety.
  • Beautifully illustrated and simply written, it allows the reader to understand how a child might be feeling and gives a voice to those thoughts that are pinging around a child’s head making them feel wobbly and upset.
  • Can be shared with younger children or read independently.
  • This book series is honest and uses simple language designed to start conversations and provide comfort.

You can find Anna Friend on Twitter @friend_anna. You can find out more information on her website.

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