A new child in the family is a welcome bundle of joy to everyone. Well, maybe not everyone. Your toddler might not share this joy because it would mean that he/she has to share mommy’s attention with the new child. It’s not a welcome thought and if not well-handled, it could be pretty unsettling for the toddler. The following tips outline how the parent can assist the toddler bond with the new sibling and accept them unconditionally.
Get them excited about the new baby
Build the anticipation over time, even before you go to the delivery room. Let the toddler touch your bump and feel their sibling move. They will be pretty excited and cannot wait to have them in their lives. Let the toddler visit you at the hospital and have them bring a present for the baby. This will create a strong a unique bond between them.
Let the toddler own the baby
Always refer to the baby as ‘Our’ baby. Let the toddler know that they have a responsibility for ensuring that the baby grows up well. By owning the baby, they will not feel as if you have diverted too much attention to the baby, neglecting them.
Ask their advice on the baby matters
Involve and indulge your toddlers on issues concerning the baby. For instance, you can let them choose what the baby will wear some days. Ask them questions like “What do you think will look pretty on our baby today?” “Do you think our baby will like that?”
Create special moments for the toddler
I know you are overwhelmed with taking care of the new baby, and you are probably exhausted at the end of the day. However, remember that your other kids need your attention too. Have some time set aside where you give them undivided attention. Play some games or just be silly with them. Keep reminding them that they are also your baby and equally important. They will not feel threatened by the newborn.
Do not tell them they are not babies anymore
This is a mistake most parents make. Once they bring a new kid into the house, they automatically announce to the toddler that their position as the baby of the house has been replaced. While this is true, your toddler might not see it that way, and they will not like it. Let them know that they are both your babies and you love them equally.
Teach the toddler to take care of the baby
When bathing the baby, have your toddler around and show them how delicate their sibling is. Tell them it is their responsibility to make them healthy by protecting them. If done right, they will love the feeling of being given responsibility for their sibling.
Encourage them to bond
Have your toddler spend as much time as possible with their sibling. Do not disturb them but assume a supervisory role. This creates a strong bond between them.
Learning how to divert your attention to take care of your toddler and new baby’s needs might be hectic and you will probably require help. The most important thing to remember is that a little attention goes a long way and it could prevent sibling rivalry in the household.