What Siblings Can Learn From Pregnancy and Childbirth

Being pregnant and having a baby while having older children can be a great opportunity for learning. Kids usually are very curious about babies. Let’s look at some of the things that kids can learn while you are pregnant and have a newborn.

Girl hugging pregnant mom: What Siblings Can Learn From Pregnancy and Childbirth
Happy Girl Hugging Pregnant Mom by photographer Marina Andrejchenko on BigStockPhoto.com

What Kids Can Learn During Pregnancy

  • Pregnancy is all about bodies – especially about how a woman’s body works. This is the prime opportunity to cover physical health subjects like anatomy and how women and men are different biologically. You can talk about how a woman’s body changes during pregnancy – what happens inside a woman as a baby grows (why does Mom have to pee so much?!).
  • It’s also a perfect chance to cover sex education with your kids and talk about where babies come from.
  • Plenty of apps and websites follow along with pregnancy to let you know how big the baby is at each step of the way, along with what is happening developmentally to the fetus each week. Kids are usually fascinated by this and it shows how we grow in utero.
  • Since pregnant moms need to take good care of themselves, this is an opportunity to talk about health: proper nutrition, exercise, sleep, taking vitamins, etc.
  • There are so many amazing technology tools that we use during pregnancy that we don’t necessarily have access to any other time – for example, a fetal doppler allows us to able to hear a heartbeat. Kids can learn to decipher between the heartbeat of mom vs the baby and the difference between the two. Ultrasounds are the way to see inside a body and are totally fascinating, giving a visual of what is going on with the baby.
  • This is an opportunity for older children to step up and help – seeing that an adult needs support and being able to take a more important role in the family not only helps mom, but also helps the whole family. They can do more chores, help siblings with various needs, go to bed on their own, make meals, carry things, etc. If mom is on bed rest, this can be a vital support!
  • Pregnancy introduces you to new kinds of careers: OB/GYNs, Midwives, Labour and Delivery Nurses. A child may just find their calling with one of these.

What Kids Can Learn After the Baby is Born

  • Childbirth is a lesson all of its own, a continuation of how bodies work and how a baby is born. If you and they are comfortable, they can be in the room to watch and participate in the birth of the baby. This can be a huge bonding experience between siblings. It’s also a chance to normalize breastfeeding if that’s what you choose or are able to do.
  • Understanding that both mom and baby need care and support is important for kids to learn too. They can bring water and snacks, be quiet while everyone is sleeping, watch as professionals handle medical procedures, watch the baby while mom showers, etc.
  • It’s also a hard lesson sometimes, but after a new baby arrives, the discovery that they are no longer the priority can be learned. They have to be willing to be part of the team and be patient while waiting for needs to be met. Patience is hard when you are a kid. This also opens the opportunity to develop skills in autonomy and independence.
  • The arrival of a new sibling can offer older children many opportunities that can be helpful in understanding babies:
    • how to change diapers
    • how to know when a baby is hungry
    • how to hold a baby
    • how to burp a baby
    • how to feed a baby
    • developmental milestones – when babies roll over, crawl, walk, talk, play, etc.
    • being gentle

There are countless things that a younger sibling can teach older ones. The experience of mom being pregnant and the arrival of a new baby is just the beginning of a life time of learning together.

This post is part of a 10 day series all about learning through every experience.  Join me as we look at different ways kids learn outside of a textbook and workbook – just by experiencing life.

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