Gaining a new sibling is a wonderful gift that can add a huge amount to your little one’s life, however it’s also a big change. Some toddlers are left feeling displaced, upstaged and excluded. In our Second-Timers Workshop we explore ways you can help support your toddler through this transition. In case you can’t make a workshop, I have included a few of our tips below.
- During your last trimester, introduce your toddler to their new sibling by allowing them to feel the baby’s kicks and to talk to the baby through your belly. Encourage your toddler to sing a song to your bump, explain that baby will be able to recognise their voice and once baby is born, allow your toddler to sing this song to them regularly – this is a great way to encourage bonding.
- Books that introduce the concept of siblings are a great way to prepare your toddler.
- Take out your old photo albums. Toddlers love to talk about themselves! Show them photos of when they were babies and explain: “This is you sleeping in your moses basket when you were a baby, the new baby will do this too…”
- Create a ‘special time’ or a ‘me & you’ box. This can be decorated with drawings or pictures of the two/three of you. Fill this with activities/games that require assistance, and when the baby is born, make some time each day for these activities (perhaps when baby is sleeping).
- Don’t jump the instant baby cries if you and your toddler are in the middle of something. Finish your chat, give him something to be getting on with, or take him with you to help see what his sibling needs.
- Many toddlers will feel more positive about their new sibling if there is something in it for them! Buying a little gift from the new baby to your toddler can help set up some positive associations.
- Keep to your toddler’s normal routines as much as you can.
- Remember, just because there is a baby in the house doesn’t mean your toddler is automatically older. Don’t expect too much from them and give extra praise and recognition during this transition.
K: Keep Involved (enjoy your little helper!)
- Your toddler can help by fetching and carrying (nappies, wipes etc.).
- Toddlers love to pull wipes out of the packet – this can be a great help during nappy changes!
- Let your toddler choose clothes for the baby: “Would she like this babygrow or this one?”