If you have young teen children and you have just surprised them with news about the arrival of a new baby, you may wonder how their lives will change when you first bring your new bundle of joy home. A study by the Society for Research in Child Development has found that younger and older siblings both contribute wonderful things to each other’s lives – for one, empathy – the ability to put oneself in another’s shoes and make an effort to understand them more. Of course, older siblings can also feel a little worried about how they will adapt to all the changes that are about to come. The good news is that there are many ways that parents can reduce their children’s worries and get them excited about being big brothers and sisters.

Getting Children Involved In Decisions

One way to motivate teens to be older brothers or sisters is to invite them to make decisions that will affect the baby in a positive way. Parents can ask children to choose decorations for the baby’s room, and help pick out clothing and toys. Of course, shopping trips will be more motivating if older siblings get a little treat too. Chances are, you will be spending time in parks and children’s playgrounds, so if you have young teen sons, outdoor presents for boys aged 14 or thereabouts are a good choice to keep them entertained while you take daily walks through green areas. Fun choices include drones, RC boat toys (if you live near a pond or you have a pool), and wireless headphones (so your child can listen to his favorite tunes). Girls this age will probably enjoy all these same gifts, so if they are into RC toys as well, you may have to buy more than one so your children can take part in fun races. Other games kids can enjoy together include mazes, building block sets, and solar powered robotic toys.

Assigning Roles

Children who are already excited about the arrival of the baby but who wonder what role they will play in the new family set-up may enjoy taking on key duties. You can run a few ideas with them prior to the arrival of the baby so they can express their choices when it comes to responsibilities. Duties can include helping you bathe the baby, helping out in the kitchen, and folding and organizing baby’s clothes. They can begin helping with tasks like changing diapers, using their favorite doll to hone their skills.

Telling Stories

You can both read and tell stories that reveal how wonderful it is to be a big brother or sister. Just a few books you can read together include The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and A Very Interesting Boy (The Penderwicks #1), The London Eye Mystery, and The Burgess Boys. You can also take advantage of car rides and other moments with your kids throughout the day to share funny stories about you and your siblings – everything from mishaps to meaningful moments you will cherish forever.

If you have teen children who are wondering what life with a new baby will be like, there are many ways to assure them that life will only get better. From inviting them to make decisions on aspects such as décor, clothing, names and the like, you can establish their importance in the baby’s life. You can also inspire them by sharing wonderful stories that show that how much fun younger siblings can be.