How to Prepare Your Toddler for a New Baby
Find out all the best tips to prepare your child for a newborn sibling here. Make the transition a lot easier!
Finding out you are about to add another baby to your family is a moment full of emotions. You are most likely excited but also maybe a bit nervous!
I know when we found out we were having another little newborn I was a little nervous about going through the newborn stage again. It can be difficult.
But I was also a little nervous about how our toddler was going to react and how I was going to manage both. Was I going to be able to give them both enough attention? Will he love his new sister??
So, I started preparing him right away for the fact that he was going to be a big brother, and I believe it made all the difference.
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Why You Should Prepare Your Toddler for a New Baby
There are so many reasons why it’s a good idea to prepare your first child for a new sibling.
Adding a new baby to your family is a huge event and it will inevitably be an adjustment, not only for you but for your first child. You know what’s happening, but your toddler doesn’t unless you prepare them!
It also helps to avoid a bit of sibling jealousy. There will probably be some at the beginning but it will help to prepare them.
There are lots of changes that come with adding a new baby and if your toddler is anything like mine (or like most toddlers) a change in routine can be very disruptive!
For those reasons and more, here are some ways to help your toddler adjust.
First of all, manage your expectations.
This one may seem like it’s a tip for you, and it is, but it’s also for your toddler. When you manage your own expectations of how your toddler is going to react, you allow for some patience and grace for the whole family. It allows you to let some things go and make things easier on everyone.
It won’t always be sunshine and rainbows with a toddler and new baby, you know that. As much as you can and should prepare your toddler for their new sibling, there will be rough days!
Toddlers still need a lot of attention and it will be hard for them to share you. But they will adjust and so will you! It will all be worth it to see what an amazing older sibling your toddler can be when you give them a chance, and to see your babies together.
Talk About the New Baby Often
This is a pretty simple way to prepare your toddler for the new baby!
All you have to do is talk about the baby. Talk about how the baby is growing in your belly, about all the ways your toddler can help with the baby, and about all the awesome baby snuggles they will get.
Talk about all the positive ways having a sibling will impact their life, and prepare them for the fact that sometimes the baby will need to be fed or changed before you can play with your toddler.
Books are an awesome way to get the conversation going about new siblings. We love and read these books below to help our toddler!
Let them know you will love both of them so much. Make it exciting for them!
Get Them Involved
Toddlers love to feel included, important and helpful.
So, get them involved in preparing for the baby! You can let them help you pick out things for the nursery, go shopping for baby outfits and even with the deep cleaning of the house.
When the baby comes, let them help out by bringing you things you need like diapers and pacifiers. My son loves to try and make his baby sister stop crying by singing to her!
Let them know what a great help they are. All the positive reinforcement makes a big difference.
Act it Out
Now that you have talked about and read about all the ways they can play with and help out with the baby, act it out!
Give them a special baby doll or teddy bear that they can pretend to change diapers for, feed, and rock to sleep. This will prepare them for all the things that need to be done for babies and remind them of how they can help.
If your toddler is anything like mine, they love to play pretend. What better way to prepare them than using play time?
A very helpful way to stay stress free during your pregnancy is to keep lists of everything you need to get done or get ready for baby! These checklists will help you stay super organized so you don’t need to worry!
Visual Timers and Schedules
Most people feel more prepared and at ease for change and routine with visuals. Toddlers are no different!
Start using timers now for things like play time and screen time. I like to use them to prepare my son for daily transitions. For example, if we have to get ready to leave the house in 5 minutes, I put a timer on for 5 minutes. When the timer goes off it’s time to go. This works really well for him as it prepares him for the transition and gives him a sound to associate that transition with.
You can also use visuals for daily routines and schedules. Have pictures up of your daily routine (making the bed, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, play time, etc.) so they can see what comes next in your day.
Things like these visuals can be used and adjusted when the baby comes. Toddlers feel a little less out of control when they know what is coming next.
That means you keep your sanity too (for the most part)!
Big Sibling Gifts
Have them pick out a gift for their new baby brother or sister. Get them a gift as well from their new sibling. Once the baby is born they can exchange gifts!
This is definitely not necessary but it can be another fun thing to add to help your toddler get excited about a new sibling.
These are just a few of the ways you can help your first child prepare for a new sibling. I’m sure there are more that you can add specific to your family!