Introducing a toddler to a new baby is an exciting time. As soon as you know that you’re pregnant, it’s time to begin working on this so that the toddler will be excited about the new baby.
Some toddlers take more easily to becoming an older sibling than others.
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It is always best to introduce the idea slowly, with plenty of warning and lots of positivity!
Reading about babies together
Begin by reading books about being a big brother or a big sister.
As you’re reading to your toddler ask your toddler what they think and get them to talk to you about it.
In many cases, your toddler will take the lead here and begin asking you if they can be a big brother or a big sister one day.
This is an ideal time to begin your discussion about “mommy has a baby in her tummy” and let your toddler lay his or her ear on your tummy to listen.
Talk about babies together
Teach your toddler to talk gently to your tummy and focus on talking about how new babies are helpless and it’s a good thing that this new baby will have a big brother or sister to help them out for the first little while.
Explain how you’re so proud of your toddler and how he or she has grown up.
Talk about how babies require diapers, and they eat by either nursing or using a bottle. They can’t enjoy the same kinds of snacks that your toddler can enjoy.
Organize a gift exchange
When the big day arrives, have a gift or two for your toddler from the baby. This could be an “I’m the Big Brother/Sister” shirt or bag or something else.
Plan ahead and encourage your toddler to have a gift for the new baby as well (dad could help him or her pick it out as a special outing, just make sure that the toddler gets something special out of the outing as well).
Build the excitement
Talk about how exciting it is that tomorrow they get to meet the new baby (or soon, or in a few weeks etc.). Make this so exciting that the toddler can hardly wait.
The more excited that the toddler is, the better it’s going to be. Focus on how you’re so glad that you’ll have a helper at home during the first few weeks as you’re going to be really busy and need his or her help.
Place stacks of diapers or wipes where the toddler can grab them for you. Place special gifts in favorite places for your toddler and when you’re having a rough time have your toddler go look in that spot to see if the baby left him or her a gift.
Time the introduction carefully
Make sure that when the baby is napping, you spend a few extra minutes with your toddler. It could be as simple as snuggling with him or her and watching a favorite television program or it could be story time.
This will help the toddler to avoid jealousy.
Get your toddler involved
Allow the toddler to help you with the baby as much as you can. Toddlers love to help and you can ask the toddler to get blankets, soft toys or even “read” a book to the baby.
The more involved your toddler is the better it’s going to be.
Set some rules and boundaries
Be sure that you set rules during the first few weeks to help ensure everyone’s safety.
Remind your toddler that babies are heavy so he or she shouldn’t try to pick the baby up without you or daddy there to assist them.
You don’t want them to hurt their back or injure themselves or the baby.
Praise good behavior
Be sure to praise your toddler often and whenever you possibly can. The more praise that your toddler receives the better he or she is going to feel about this transitional time.
Talk about when the baby gets bigger they can play together. Talk about how the baby is going to look up to his or her big brother or sister.
Toddlers love to be busy and there are a lot of great ways that toddlers can help and play with their new sibling.
Teach your toddler to be extra gentle and talk softly to his or her new baby brother or sister. Toddlers can softly sing songs, read stories and just smile at the baby.
As the baby gets older and begins to smile back and coo at your toddler, it will all come together smoothly.