How To Prepare Toddler For New BabyCaroline Fenton
So you are preggers… YAY, BIG CONGRATULATIONS!! And you already have a toddler in tow… hello exhaustion levels 😴 Wondering how to prepare your toddler for the arrival of a new baby? How do you go from being a mama of one, to a mama of two? Does your heart grow? I think that can be the only answer…! ❤️ We’ve put together a list of our TOP 8 TIPS for you to help your little one transition from being the only child, to the older sibling. You have most probably heard the analogy of hubby bringing home a new woman, only to be told you guys now have to share a house, meals, hug, time and everything in between. Yep, pretty rotten right!? That’s pretty much how it will feel for your toddler. So best to have a few sneaky tricks up your sleeve for when you need them (and in the moments of pure toddler tantrum, to remember to feel just a little bit sorry for them)…
How To Prepare Toddler For New Baby: Life With A New Sibling
Talk and Read
Talk about it before hand, read books, chat about what life will be like with new baby here. Show them their baby book, talk about their birth, and make it real by relating it to them as a baby. Talk about simple everyday things (like mummy will have to hold our baby LOTS), and how life will be a little bit different. For example, when in the shopping trolley, ask them where new baby will sit. My little boy loved going around the shops and saying that new baby would be here (pointing at the seat next to him).
Mum’s Little Helper
Let them help, they love the responsibility and being ‘grown up’. Make it fun… For example. After bath time ‘Oh no, mummy’s left the nappies in the nursery! Could you please get one for me?’. Sometimes they won’t want to help, or they just won’t listen, but when they do, they LOVE being helper (and often surprise you at just what they know and can do to help!). Be sure to let them know how amazing, brilliant and great they are at helping!
Use ‘our’ when referring to the baby. Make them part of the team. For example, when baby’s crying ‘Oh no, our baby is upset again!’. ‘Do you think our baby would like some milk?’ It’s a simple change but one that can help a lot.
Make up a couple of ‘busy boxes’. These are special boxes that come out for the older sibling when you are busy feeding or trying to settle baby. I put things like: a DVD (yep we don’t do a lot of screen time but it’s a treat!), colouring or sticker book, play dough or something crafty, a wooden toy, some snacks, a puzzle in ours. Bring it out, let them choose what they would like to do. These then get packed away again so they are seen as a special treat (when actually it’s just because you need a little bit of peace and quiet to focus on the newborn!). We’ve created these gorgeous boxes that make the perfect gift for a big brother, or big sister (containing goodies that will keep them
One To One Time
Be aware of one on one time. Before the newborn arrived, your firstborn had your undivided attention… which they now have to share (and probably don’t even get their fair share!). If possible, schedule in some mum and older sibling time e.g. swimming lessons, a coffee, a trip to the park. This gives them the chance to get that connection and undivided attention they crave. Dad can be a good second bet, but it’s really mum’s attention they crave.
They are craving your love and attention, even more so when they are being super naughty. Keep in mind, they are only trying to communicate with you through their behaviour. Day to day, be sure to reward them when they have been patient, kind, and gentle. Spending just a few minutes being silly and bonding with them while baby naps will make all the difference to their temperament. Otherwise they will quickly run out of patience, get bored of being ‘good’ and the tantrums will more than likely appear.
If any adjustments need to be made, such as the older sibling moving room, then be sure to do it a while before baby is here. Don’t let it be associated with the baby! The same goes for if you need their change table, or cot, just remove it a while before baby is here so they don’t see it as the baby taking all their things.
While being ‘big boy’ or ‘big girl’ can be great for some kids, for others it only worsens the situation. Before the newborn was here, they were still your ‘baby’. So if all of a sudden they are now expected to behave as a ‘big boy’, or play on their own like a ‘big girl’, this can be hard for children to understand. Even more so if being the baby actually means you get all the attention, the cuddles, and mum’s time. Sometimes older siblings will want to breastfeed again or start talking using nonsense words (to reaffirm themselves as the baby). This is all a part of not wanting to be that ‘big kid’, when being a baby seems so much more rewarding.
If you’d like these tips in a PDF, you can download that here: how-to-prepare-toddler-for-new-baby-8-tips (no need to sign up!)
We hope these help you prepare your toddler for the arrival of your new baby. Most of all, just know that the feelings of guilt will pass… when you can’t hug your firstborn when they fall as you are feeding your newborn. Or when you can’t pick your newborn up because you are wiping your toddler’s bottom. They will become best friends and have a forever bond as siblings. What you have done and given them is truly magical. You selflessly give all your energy and love to them, and ridiculous amounts of worry too. The balance will happen in its own way, just be sure to carve some time for yourself too.
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