With a new pregnancy, children may not understand what the process means for them and how things will occur. The nine months of pregnancy may seem like an enormous amount of time for young children. Some parents choose to wait to talk to their children about the pregnancy until the second trimester. This allows the parents to keep an early miscarriage from the children to avoid upsetting them.
Track the Pregnancy with Children
There are a number of books and calendars that are devoted to the weekly progression of pregnancy. These are excellent teaching tools for children. One such book, "Your Pregnancy Week by Week" by Glade B. Curtis and Judith Schuler, has a chapter devoted to the fetus' progression each week along with an illustration of the fetus. This can help children to visualize what the baby looks like in real time. Parents and children can look at the illustrations each week and talk about how the baby is developing and how long it will be until the birth.
Discuss Changes in the Household
As your pregnancy progresses, you may have to have discussions with your children about how your abilities have changed. You may not be able to pick up your children as you did before, or there may be other physical limitations. Your children will have to be told what you can and can't do to avoid any disappointment. If you have any complications with your pregnancy or need bed rest during a portion of it, the discussion should center on how your rest is helping the baby to develop and become strong rather than on your physical problems. This will help to allay any fears the children may have when problems do arise.
Discuss Changes Once Baby Arrives
Children should also be told how their household will change after the baby arrives. The baby will require a bedroom or a part of a bedroom and will need a crib, stroller and other items. Seeing those items and picturing them in use by the new baby may help your children to imagine how life will be different when the baby comes.
Children should also be prepared for how much time and attention babies need. The other children will not be getting the amount of attention they are used to when the baby is born. This can be traumatic for some children, but this can be made easier with some discussion about the issue during the pregnancy. Taking time to talk about what the other children can do while you are occupied with the baby can help them to take some productive action. Supply them with plenty of choices when it comes to staying occupied. They may decide that when you are taking care of the baby they will color, play with certain toys or even help with the baby's needs.
With some planning during the pregnancy, your other children can come
to understand how things will soon change and how they can be happy
when it changes. This will make these big changes less frightening. They
will likely look forward to the baby's birth and stay comforted with
their knowledge of the changes.