Preparing Your Toddler How To Smooth The Transition
Are you expecting a second child and anxious about how your eldest will react?
Get your little one ready for the arrival of a new baby can help smooth the transition.
This advice comes from my experience - this is me 8 months pregnant with my oldest son.
To start off with, it's important to be realistic.
Nothing can completely wipe out the jealousy and mixed feelings your toddler is bound to have once the newborn arrives.
However, problems may be minimized using some of the strategies outlined here.
Don't expect your toddler to be as over the moon about the baby as you are. This way, you can't feel disappointed.
Cautious optimism is the way forward.
Drip feed the idea of, rather than bang on about, the new baby. Bring the subject up and weave it into conversation - but not every day.
The reality of living with a newborn is meaningless to a child of this age.
Some experts say that you should not even mention the baby until a few weeks before the birth (this can be difficult if your 2-and-a-half-year-old's favourite hobby is using your pregnant belly as a trampoline, as was my son's!)
Involve Your Toddler
Involving the eldest child in preparations for the birth can be very beneficial, and make the child feel important rather than sidelined.
Here are some of the things you can do:
Ask your toddler to decide on a present to give the baby.
Don't forget to buy a gift from the baby for your toddler, and make it something she can busy herself with during the (possibly emotionally fraught) first meeting.
Let him choose or make some pictures for the baby's room
Take her to buy an outfit for the baby - he chooses which one.
A word of warning: DO NOT pressurize your child. Watch for any apparent lack of interest or negative reactions, and back off.
New Baby Stories
Reading new baby books for children is a good starting point for preparing your toddler for the big changes ahead, and may be a way in to talk to your child if she feels threatened by the unknown. Try some recommended new baby stories that my son loved before our second baby was born.
Make Changes Early On
Sit down and think about what practical things will need changing around your home, and what will directly affect your toddler. This is really important when preparing your toddler for the newborn.
Whatever needs changing, do it as early as possible so your toddler has a chance to get used to the new way of doing things. Don't let him work out that it is all to accommodate the baby's needs - you risk having a mutiny on your hands!
Go to the page on the first meeting between your new siblings if this is worrying you. It may not go well - but it really doesn't matter in the long run. There is plenty of time to help your children bond.
Your Toddler Month By Month, Dr Tanya Byron, 2008, Dorling Kindersley Ltd.
Raising Happy Brothers & Sisters, Jan Parker & Jan Stimpson, 2004, Hodder & Stoughton.
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