How to Prepare Your Toddler for the Arrival of Your New Baby
The arrival of a new baby brother or sister can turn the world of a toddler upside down. Suddenly the child is not the center of mommy and daddy’s universe and has to learn to share them. If you are expecting a new baby in a few months and have a toddler in the house, you might want to start preparing your little one for the role of big sister or big brother.
Visit your local library and check out some books to read with your toddler. You’ll find a nice selection of age appropriate books. Toddlers will enjoy books that feature animal characters dealing with the arrival of a new baby animal. You’ll also want to read books that feature human characters so you can start a conversation about the new baby you are expecting. Keep the conversations simple, although older toddlers, aged 2 to 3 will understand more than you realize.
Consider buying a new bed for your toddler two to three months before the new baby arrives. Your child will have time to get used to the new bed and won’t feel as if the new baby has taken over his crib. Make it fun and let your little one help pick out new bedding. The first few nights may be difficult while adjusting to the new bed, but it’s better than trying to make the change with a new baby in the house. If your child will have to share his room with the new baby, now is a good time to start talking about it. Again, keep the conversations simple.
Take your toddler to a couple of your prenatal doctor visits, if possible. Your child might be amazed to hear the baby’s heartbeat and start to understand that there really is a baby growing in mommy’s tummy.
When your new baby is born, give your toddler a special gift and say that it is from the new baby. Talk about how important it is to be a big sister or brother and how much help they can be to mommy and daddy. Some 2 and 3 year olds will be more than willing to run and get diapers and be a big helper.
On the other hand, when the new baby comes home, your toddler may revert to baby type behavior. This is to be expected, so try not to make a big deal about it. Make a point of spending some special time with your toddler. Cleaning, cooking, and laundry can wait, but your toddler will need to be reassured that he hasn’t been replaced. Give your toddler some extra special attention and your new baby will have a happier big brother or sister.