July 27, 2022 4 min read

When you already have a toddler at home, just preparing yourself for the arrival of a new baby isn’t enough. You also need to prepare your toddler. Toddlers are too young to understand much. However, once another baby enters the house, the family dynamics can change leaving them feeling somewhat confused and even frustrated. You can prepare your toddler in advance using the below tips to smooth out the transition for them.


1. Let them know a few months in advance that they are going to have a sibling.

It helps to reveal the big news about the time that your baby bump starts growing. This will help them associate the growing bump with the fact that a little baby is growing inside you.

Let them know a few months in advance about new sibling

As for the baby’s arrival, associate it with something they can understand, such as a season or a holiday. For example, if you are having a December baby, you can tell them that the baby will come around Christmas. Or you can tie up the baby’s birth with a time they can relate to - such as ‘just a few days after Mummy’s or Daddy’s birthday’.


2. Refer to the baby in everyday conversations.

To help your toddler transition to become the older sibling, talk about how everyday things would change once the baby comes. This will help them prepare for the actual time when the baby comes.

For example, you can talk about how the baby will have bath times, feeding times, and play times. You can also use a doll to demonstrate. It’s also a great idea to ask for your toddler’s help in these tasks. This is a good way to lay the foundation for getting them involved with the new baby when the time comes.


3. Give them an anatomy lesson.

Your toddler might find a newborn unusual, more so if the newborn is of a different gender. Helping them understand body parts and preparing them for how small a newborn would be can help them accept their sibling more easily.

 Give them an anatomy lesson

You can start the conversation by reading them a book about human anatomy. You can also show them pictures of when they were a newborn to help them understand how babies grow.


4. Teach them to be gentle.

Toddlers can sometimes be quite rough in the way they handle things such as their toys. Model gentle handling so that they don’t inadvertently hurt the new baby. Again, using a doll or a soft toy should help in this.

Teach them to be gentle

Also, make sure your interactions with your toddler are in line with the behavior you expect from them. So, treat them gently and speak softly to them.


5. Instill some responsibility in them.

Your toddler is still quite young to take any real responsibility. But letting them know that they are the older sibling and that you need their help to take care of the baby can be a good idea.

This is also a good start to help them become a little independent in everyday tasks such as winding up their toys, self-feeding, brushing their teeth, etc. Remember that your toddler will still need plenty of supervision. However, this will trigger the process of making them a little independent.


6. Involve your toddler in the preparations.

If you are setting up the nursery or getting baby clothes, involve your toddler. This will help them feel they are a part of the process. Also, since they get to see in advance the things the new baby is going to have, the novelty element would be eliminated. So, when the baby actually comes, your toddler won’t be curious about the new crib or the rocker.


7. Talk about safety.

Talk a lot about what is safe for the baby and themselves and what is not. Reinforcing this information will help them retain it better. Of course, you will need to supervise your toddler’s time with the baby. But having this conversation will make things much less stressful.


8. Get your toddler on a routine.

If your toddler is not already on a routine, help them get on one now. A fixed routine for nap times and sleep times will give you some level of certainty. When you know that at least one child is going to take an afternoon nap for two hours or is going to sleep through the night, it will help you immensely manage your stress levels when caring for the newborn.


9. Prepare your toddler for your time in hospital and the confinement period.

If you are your toddler’s primary caregiver, this is really important. While you are at the hospital for childbirth and then soon after when you spend the confinement period with your newborn, you might not be always present for your toddler the way you are present now.

 

Prepare your toddler for your time in hospital and the confinement period

Help them prepare for this by gently letting another caregiver take more responsibility. So, for example, if you are the one to wake them up every morning and get them ready for school, let daddy take over.


10. Show plenty of love and affection.

It’s normal for toddlers to feel left out when the newborn suddenly starts getting a lot of attention. Reassure your baby by showing them plenty of affection now and continue this even when the baby comes.


The bond that siblings share is one of the most beautiful bonds. By preparing your toddler in advance, you are helping create the bond faster. Just know that some toddlers might be more averse to the idea of sharing their parents with another baby. However, know that with a little patience and love, they can soon grow out of it.

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