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FOLLOWING the pregnancy announcement out of Kensington Palace, much has been made of the Duchess’s sickness and the likely name and sex of the baby.
Outside of life in the palace, thousands of expectant parents across the country will be similarly placed and also facing the difficulty of ensuring the new baby’s brothers and sisters remain involved.
A parenting expert listed in the Counselling Directory has revealed how to ensure siblings in Prince George and Princess Charlotte’s position do not feel excluded.
It comes as the pregnancy revelation was made on four-year-old Prince George’s first day at school.
Val Sampson, an Edinburgh based counsellor and author has revealed four tips to help parents ensure children do not feel detached.
She said: “We expect our children to share the same level as excitement as expectant mums and dads, which is totally unrealistic.
“Young children in particular are unable to rationalise love like adults do.
Advice – Val Sampson
Keep special time with your eldest and middle ones:
“Start a new activity during the pregnancy that involve only you and your other children, and make sure it’s something that can continue after the child arrives.
“This can be something as simple as reading a story together, but the key is that this activity is new and that nothing about it will change even after the new baby is born.
“It’s important we separate child and adult reactions.
“Imagine if you said to your partner, ‘I think you’re so great, another partner is going to move in and you’ll be able to share with them.’
“This would make people feel enraged and furious, and these are things a child can potentially feel. Showing understanding is key, for instance if the baby is crying, then even sharing how they feel about the loud noise helps.
“Never assume children have to share the same enthusiasm as parents, and don’t underestimate what might be going on in their lives. For instance, the eldest child may be starting school, and could be scared about leaving mummy and daddy for the first time.
“It is also unfair to compare how one child reacts compared to another, when asking ‘your sister is excited about the new baby, why can’t you be?’
“Keeping an open dialogue with them is key, and making it age appropriate. This can be asking them ‘have you got any worries about the new baby coming?’
Don’t push it:
“It is a balance, getting involved in ‘project baby’ should not be imposed on them. If they want to help out, then this should be nurtured of course.
“Forcing a child to help out is not the answer, children may have mixed feelings and they need to process the change in their own time.