How to prepare a toddler for a new baby?
The arrival of a new baby brings not only happiness, but also challengers. When first time parents bring a baby to their home, they are more focused on how to take care of a little one. However, within a second baby, different kind of challengers show up. Parents become more concerned about how a big sisters/s or brother/s reacts to a new baby, how to manage jealously and how to satisfy toddler’s needs.
Preparing older kid in advance can assist to manage the whole adaptation process more smooth, so that parents would not feel guilty and a toddler separated from the family, when a new baby arrives.
Thus, actions decsribed further below is from our personal experience that has worked 100% for our family.
Telling about a new baby
Telling your older kid about a new baby is the first step in the whole journey. Our son was the second person whom we told this new to, although he was not impressed and happy about a little sister.
The reasons for telling the news so early is so a toddler has more time to adopt to this idea, and he feels included in the whole journey.
Moreover, if a pregnant women has morning sickness from the very beginning, as I did, so it is essential talk to your older kid and to tell the reason for that. Some might think that a toddler is for young to talk to and understand these things. But, believe me, he is not. Otherwise, he could not understand why are you feeling this way every morning, which might make him feel anxious. Honesty, in all cases, is the best way to avoid hidden negative emotions and rejecting consequences.
Bring a toddler to the first scanning
The second decision that we have had to make was, if we should bring our son to the first scanning.
I had doubts. I have read and talked to the people I know and their opinions have separated. Some said that I should not do that, cause this is the thing that kids should not see, in case of the doctor announcing bad news. Just few of them said that I should bring him with, cause he is a part of the family and should be included in this process. Within all these advantages and disadvantages in mind, I have decided that it would be the best to take him with. I have also discussed with my husband, what we should do in case of bad news that he and our son should leave the room, so we could talk to our son about that at home, when emotions settle down.
All went better than we have expected. Our son was holding my hand and keep looking at me, if I am ok, during the whole scaning. That was the cuttest thing 🙂
This decision has changed a lot. From that moment until now he is in love with his new baby sister: he used to kiss my belly and now sister, asking various questions about a new baby or giving his favorite toy to her.
Involve your toddler into a name picking process and baby’s room decoration
As the pregnancy speeded up, we began to think about possible given names, all the baby stuff that we need and baby’s room decoration. Involving your toddler into these processes helps him to feel an important part of a change.
Therefore, we asked our son, how he would name a new baby (you will be surprised how big kid’s imagination are 🙂 ), which name would he choose from the ones that we, parents, found potential or which toys would he choose to decorate a new baby’s room.
Reading kids appropriate books about pregnancy and a new baby
I have got this idea from a doctor (not as a patient, but as a friend). We were talking that our son in few years should start going to preschool and how can I help him to be better prepared for that. Books was one of the option. Then I thought, why I cannot do the same in regards to the pregnancy and a new baby’s arrival.
Thus, I began searching for a kids appropriate books about pregnancy and a new baby in the local library. I was so surprised how interested our son was in reading these kind of books and how many questions he had. Thus, if you will choose to execute this step, you should be prepared for a variety of question, such as: “where the baby come from”. And keep in mind his age answering them 🙂
Setting aside a special time spend with you toddler
As I mentioned earlier in my post (“How to teach kids cleaning up their toys?“), a daily routine is healthy for kids development and for parents too. In order to make your kid even more secure, when a new baby arrives, establishment of a daily rituals help to reach that goal.
Our personal small ritual every day is reading a book in the evening. It has become not only an essential apart of his daily routine, but also a time spent with mom or dad only. Now he even more appreciate this time after our family has growen up.
Last year I said: “Currently we are in this process and expecting a baby soon, thus, I cannot confirm that it works. However, I strongly believe in these methods. We do believe that within the appearance of a new baby our efforts, to make our son feel safe and happy, do not end. We will be continuous involving our kid into all possible processes, and continuous explaining and being honest about new things.”
Now it has been 3 month since we brought our baby home. I can confirm that going through these steps was one of the best decisions ever. Our son feels even more loved and happier.
P.S. If you are struggling with making your kids to eat lunch box, teaching to clean up their toys or just interested in other parenting related issues, you can find this and more discovering info here.