How to Prepare for a Toddler and a New Baby
For better or worse, a first-born child receives – and gets used to! – an inordinate amount of attention during their first few years of life. The arrival of a second child will obviously take away from this attention and may even cause the toddler to unnecessarily resent their sibling.
Here are a few suggestions on how to prepare your toddler for this life-changing event:
Talk It Over
Toddlers appreciate stability. For this reason alone, you should let them know what is about to happen and when to expect the new baby. It is simply a bad idea to just show up one day with the new addition to the family.
Tell Them About the Past
One great way to introduce the presence of a new baby is to explain to the toddler how they went through the very same experience. Obviously, they will not remember the experience itself but the explanation can smooth over some of the toddler’s fears.
Imagine the Future
Your toddler will probably not have a good grasp of what the future holds when the new baby arrives. Reassure them that things will return to normal in a short period of time. In addition, help them to imagine all the good things that a baby brother or sister means.
While in the hospital, the expectant mother will probably want to have some other family member care for their toddler while they give birth. Build excitement by making this a special time for the toddler where they get to sleepover at Grandma’s house and also get to do something special.
A Present From the Baby
When your toddler arrives to meet the baby for the first time, it is a great idea to have a gift for them to open “from the baby.” It not only adds some excitement to the event but also builds some brotherly love.
Provide a Personal Role
Of course, a toddler is not going to be of much real help in the caring of a newborn but the concept of them being a “big” brother or sister to their younger sibling can help them better deal with the situation. In short, they will feel involved even if the main focus of attention is on the baby.
Be Careful of Your Tone
Your first-born child may not exactly understand every word you say but they are very cognizant of the tone in which you say them. Try not to focus on the difficulties of the process but on the joy that a new baby will bring for the entire family.
Do a Little Learning
Your toddler is definitely going to notice the physical changes in their mother as the pregnancy progresses. Sitting down with them and showing them some pictures or videos of what is going on inside is a great way to involve in the process.
Undoubtedly, both you and your spouse are going to be busy with the new baby but that should not mean that your toddler gets ignored. A little quiet time with Mom or Dad without the baby will be greatly appreciated by your youngster.
For more information on how parents can properly prepare their toddlers for the arrival of a new sibling, please contact us at Your First Look Women’s Center. We can be found online at YourFirstLook.org or reached directly at 567.455.1101.