The arrival of a new baby is a big event in any family. When you already have a toddler, though, there is another person who needs to prepare. Where do you get started? Today we’re sharing our top tips for preparing your toddler for the arrival of a new little brother or sister.
Preparing an Older Sibling for a New Baby
Reading a book together with your toddler is a great way to share what a new baby is like. Many toddlers do not know that newborns can’t eat solid food or play games. A simple story with great illustrations will help them to understand what a little brother or sister will do all day. A few that we like are My New Baby by Rachel Fuller, I Am a Big Brother! / I Am a Big Sister! by Caroline Jayne Church, I’m a Big Sister / I’m a Big Brother by Joanna Cole and We Have a Baby by Cathryn Falwell.
Learn Through Play
Children learn through play. To help your toddler prepare for a new baby think about getting a baby doll and play diapers, clothes, a stroller and so on. Then show your little one how you take care of a new baby using the doll. The new big brother or sister can practice their own baby care skills. When the baby arrives your toddler may also enjoy having a baby of their own.
Look at Photos
Another great way to prepare your toddler for a new baby is to look at old photos and mementos from their infancy. Many parents are worried about jealousy, so letting your child see that you cared for them in the same way you will care for the baby can help. Letting your toddler see photos from the pregnancy is also a good way to explain that the baby will be growing in your belly.
Minimize Big Changes
Change is hard for everyone, but especially for toddlers who crave routine and have a hard time understanding what is happening around them. As much as possible, minimize the big changes that will come with the arrival of your new baby. For instance, if you will be redecorating, moving or transitioning your toddler to a toddler bed try to do it well in advance of the baby’s birth so it’s not too much change all at once. Also try to keep routines like daycare or preschool, bedtime and bathtime and so on as consistent as possible.
Once the Baby Arrives
Try to set aside times that you can spend with the new older sibling doing things they enjoy. 20 minutes playing with trains, reading a book or colouring while your baby naps can make a world of difference to a toddler. If your baby sleeps in the stroller a walk to the playground may be a good way to combine naptime and playtime. A good baby carrier may also be your new best friend, freeing your hands so you can keep your newborn close and do things with your toddler.
How did you prepare your toddler for the arrival of a new baby? Leave a reply and let us know!