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Tips for Introducing a New Sibling to a Toddler

Toddlerhood — it is a special time in a child’s development, they have just overcome the challenges and developments of infancy and are learning to interact with the world around them. Toddlers are curious beings, who love to exercise their freedom while struggling to understand and manage their feelings.

Sharing does not come easily to them. So, if you have a toddler who will become an elder sibling soon, you may be wondering how to broach this topic with them. Expanding your family can be a wonderful transition, preparing your toddler for the new baby can make it a stress-free one too!

10 Ways Of Preparing Toddler For A New Baby

  1. Begin With A Conversation
  2. Gently broach the subject of the upcoming arrival with them. If you are expecting, then they would have already had some idea that there is a baby in mom’s belly. If you are adopting, you can tell them about their new sibling such as where they are coming from. Given the limited attention span toddlers have, try to keep the explanations short and light.

  3. Act It Out
  4. Familiarity is crucial for kids, especially toddlers. Familiar routines, backgrounds, and locations give them comfort, they know what is to be expected, and it helps them feel less overwhelmed and in control of their emotions. A few weeks before the arrival of the new baby, you can give them a chance to act out what it would be like to have a new baby in the house. You can give them a stuffed toy or a doll to help them get used to the idea.

  5. Introduce Changes Early On
  6. If you plan to transition your toddler to a day bed from the crib or do toddler-baby room sharing, you can start those transitions a couple of months before the arrival of the baby. Introducing those changes early on and celebrating them as milestones will help the toddler appreciate those as his achievements. Instead of viewing them as changes forced on him by the new baby, helping the two get along better.

  7. Don’t Make Changes A Big Deal
  8. Remember you are the norm for your baby, so all or any changes that are going to happen in their lives are going to be enforced by you. The best way to help your toddler ease into them is by being as lowkey about them as possible. If you plan to do toddler-baby room sharing, just go about letting your toddler know that it’s best if the baby sleeps in their room so that they can keep an eye out for them. The sense of responsibility will help them feel included and take the focus away from the fact that they have to share their room.

  9. Get Expert Help
  10. You can also use books to prepare your toddler for the new baby. Expert early educationists and child developmental psychologists have written many books on this subject. Find one which you can use. You can also use baby books to prepare your toddler for the new baby, these are written with the point of view of explaining this change to the young ones.

  11. Select A Relaxed Setting For The First Meet
  12. Once the new baby has arrived, don’t be in a rush to have your toddler greet and meet their new sibling. Instead of the unfamiliar and intimidating environment of the hospital, let the first interaction take place at home. Also, ensure that the baby is covered and enveloped in a baby wrapper to avoid your toddler being too heavy-handed with them. Things like cord stumps on the baby need to be handled with care, your toddler shouldn’t be too curious to find out what it is!

  13. Choose Welcoming Words
  14. You may be overwhelmed with emotions, capturing this big moment for your family. After all, the first meeting is only going to happen once! But it’s best to not let this slip into your actions and words. Keep the atmosphere light. Also, use language that includes your toddler in the new change but does not alienate them. “ Meet your new sibling” — phrases such as this can help.

  15. Let Your Toddler Set The Pace
  16. Given the fickle minds of toddlers, it’s best to lower your expectations. If they seem keen on holding the bay and interacting with them, help them get seated in a comfortable corner where they can hold the baby while being supervised. Gently remind them to touch the baby softly, since the baby is small and can get hurt easily. If they don’t want to do so, don’t push them. However, keep asking and encouraging them to do so. You can also initiate a family cuddle or hug to ease their minds.

  17. Help The Baby Welcome The Toddler
  18. It’s quite possible that almost overnight the toddler may experience a shift in the attention of all extended family members. This can result in them feeling left out and build some resentment against the new baby. You can navigate this by giving a gift to the baby that’s from their new sibling. Get your toddler something that they have been asking for or an activity kit or toy that they can do with the new baby and gift it to them. This will help you smoothen the shift in the attention.

  19. Be Patient
  20. Likely, the first interaction won’t go as you expected it to be. Don’t be disheartened, keep windows of time for your toddler to interact with the baby as a family unit and encourage them to participate in it. You can also enlist their help in doing baby chores, such as fetching things like diapers or baby wipes. Doing this will help your toddler get accustomed to their new family member and get adjusted to their new reality.

Knowing how to prepare a toddler for a new baby is only one part of the equation, it’s how you navigate your new family dynamics that will help your toddler adapt to this new transition better. Remember, this is a big change for them and will take them some getting used to. As new parents, it will also do you good if you are kind to yourself, it will help you, your partner and your children adapt to your new life better.

To know more about how you can prepare your toddler for new baby or explore more such interesting blogs, visit EuroKids.

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