Sibling Pregnancy Announcement: How To Tell Kids Your Pregnant

May 18, 2023

It happened. You and your spouse are holding a positive pregnancy test. Congratulations! Amidst all of the preparations that are going to quickly follow, you’ll also need to plan how to tell your kids you’re pregnant. 

While the arrival of a new baby is incredibly exciting, it also means that a lot of changes are coming for the whole family. New schedules, room sharing, doctor visits, and much more are going to shake things up. Even so, young kids are often elated to find out that they’re going to be a big brother or sister to a new sibling. 

When To Tell Kids About Pregnancy

Nailing the sibling pregnancy announcement and figuring out when to tell kids about pregnancy might feel a little stressful at first, but the whole process should provide an opportunity to celebrate together.

Keep reading for some of our favorite ideas on how to make your sibling pregnancy announcement the best it can be, including unique ideas for kids at different stages. We’ll help you get the most out of this exciting time with creative tips for keeping your kids involved and excited until baby arrives.

How To Tell Kids Your Pregnant: 1-on-1

Once kids are old enough to imagine the changes that will happen when a baby arrives, it’s often best to approach the subject with a lot of empathy and patience. During the sibling pregnancy announcement, be sure to give them a lot of undivided attention so they feel fully heard and understood. 

So, who should be the one to break the news? While there’s no right answer, a few questions come to mind:

  • Which parent spends the most time with your child or children? Some parents opt to have the mom give the announcement because, for a short period, the new baby will change her relationship with kids the most.
  • Do you have multiple children? Would it be easier to have each parent take 1-2 kids out for dessert to give the announcement and have a celebration?

No matter the age and stage of your children, they will appreciate the attention and personal focus of a 1-on-1 announcement, and this method is often recommended for kids in the pre-school age range.

How To Tell Kids Your Pregnant: Do Your Sibling Pregnancy Announcement Together

Very young kids (1-3 years old) won’t completely grasp the concept of a new baby coming to live in the house and play with their toys or divide mom’s attention. If your kids are young, or if you’d simply prefer to do the sibling pregnancy announcement together as a couple, here are some ideas to consider before breaking the big news:

  • Sit altogether in a place that’s comfortable and familiar for your kids.
  • Leave plenty of time after the announcement to eat or celebrate together and talk about what the new baby will mean. 

How To Tell Kids Your Pregnant: Plan a Surprise, or Throw an After-party

We don’t necessarily recommend springing a huge announcement on your kids out of nowhere as this new info might be hard for them to fully process. This is particularly true if you’re going to be telling toddlers. Young kids are more likely to respond positively if you keep things relatively calm and collected.

However, adding a little bit of fanfare to a post-announcement celebration might be the perfect way to complete a successful sibling pregnancy announcement. Planning a small party for after the announcement also gives your kids time to hang out and ask questions about the baby’s gender, mom’s pregnancy, upcoming changes, etc. 

If your kids are old enough to immediately understand the pregnancy announcement (and if you think they would like it), there are a few creative ways to surprise them:

  • Before you tell your child or children, snag a couple of “big brother” or “big sister” shirts so you can snap a quick pic as a family after the announcement. Bingo! Your Christmas card is ready to go.
  • Have a simple announcement directly to your kids so they can process the news, then plan a second surprise - the gender reveal! Pulling out a set of colorful cupcakes or letting some balloons out of a basket can be an awesome way to let your children in on a special family secret before others find out. The same goes for your baby’s name!

Preparing for the Arrival of a New Baby

From even very young ages, kids can easily get excited about the arrival of a new baby. There are some specific ways that you can help include even toddlers in the emotional and physical preparations for a new baby.

  1. Give your kids a doll to care for, and show how mom and dad are doing the same. My 1 ½ -year old was recently gifted a baby doll and she carries it with her everywhere. Even at such a young age, my daughter has been able to better understand concepts like feeding, playing, sleeping, crawling, and “being careful with baby.”
  2. Get your child involved in changes to the physical layout of the house. Things like bedroom updates, new paint, or furniture are exciting for your kids and they’ll want to know the plan. Making these upgrades as part of the overall preparations for your baby’s arrival will help keep the positive momentum, and help your child feel like their contributing in a big way.
  3. Let your children take on some of the responsibility! For example, if you want to use a crib that your toddler is currently sleeping in, use the new baby as a reason to move them up to a “big kid” bed. Or, have you been waiting for the right time to tackle potty training? Perhaps you can avoid changing multiple sets up diapers by ramping up training efforts over the next 6 months, graduating to pull-ups or underwear just in time for the next baby to come. 
  4. Get ready for lots of questions. You might even find it helpful to debrief with your spouse or partner on exactly how you’ll handle some of the most common and difficult questions. Kids will want to know things like where babies come from, when they’re going to arrive, what’s going to change when they get here, and much more.
  5. Set aside some intentional time. Be sure to leave space for family outings and maybe one last family vacation before the baby is born. This time away, even if it’s for a weekend, will be the perfect time to rest and regroup before big changes get underway. Plan a few conversation starters to hear more about what your kids are looking forward to when the baby arrives.   

How to Handle a Bad Reaction to Your Sibling Pregnancy Announcement

What happens when your kid’s reaction doesn’t go as planned? Even the perfect sibling pregnancy announcement can feel a little lackluster if your child is confused or even frustrated by the news that their family is expanding.

It’s especially tough with pregnancy announcements because it’s a non-negotiable, meaning that there’s no alternative to the baby eventually being born. Kids may not have a good understanding of how permanent this change will be, or that it can’t be changed. 

To help your kids grasp the situation, it’s important to explain exactly what’s happening and how it’s going to unfold in the coming months. Kids are prone to a negative or uncertain reaction if they are confused about what’s going to change as a result of the pregnancy. 

Here are a couple of ways to handle this situation with your kids, depending on their age. 

For young kids (under 5)

  • Affirm that they are more than enough. Kids sometimes feel that parents want another child because they are somehow falling short. Gentle, consistent reassurance is the best way to help your child feel comforted and secure.
  • Let them know that the goal is simply to grow your family and not to change because something is wrong. Some parents even talk to their kids about this before they’re pregnant.
  • Try to get them excited about the prospect of having a new friend and sibling to play with whenever they want!
  • Plan a visit to a friend or family member with a young baby to familiarize your child with the concept, and encourage them to ask questions.  

For older kids (over 5)

  • Bring them into the process of preparing for the baby to arrive by letting them pick decor, paint colors, or even brainstorm the new name.
  • Show them how to help both mom and dad, and how to be a critical piece of the family support for their new sibling.
  • Set realistic expectations for how things will look the first few months after the baby is born. 

Stay Positive

No matter your kid’s ages, they’re sure to feed off of your energy. Staying positive will encourage your children and show them that you’re also excited about this addition to the family. Kids are surprisingly resilient, and they’ll rise to the challenge when given the support needed.
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