When you find out you are expecting and you have a toddler at home, learning how to prepare your toddler for the new baby may be one of your first goals. We all know how much attention our toddlers love and need. When we found out we were expecting our second baby, there were several ways we found to help prepare our toddler for the new baby.
Having your children spaced close together definitely can have its moments of chaos. But, there is nothing better than watching them play together and see them developing a bond that will last a lifetime. Prepare your toddler for the new baby with these ideas to make adjusting a breeze for both of you!
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Prepare Toddler for New Baby with These Tips
What is a baby?
Start pointing out babies at the mall or grocery store. Maybe you have a doll or toy baby at home you can start to play with? This is a great way to start teaching your toddler what a baby is. Teach them what a baby looks like and to be gentle around them. Most often toddlers are so eager to please, they will love learning this new “gentle” trick. And, after learning what a baby was, my son immediately thought every baby was his new best friend. Helping them adjust might just be easier than you thought!
Talk About the Baby
Taking your toddler to all your doctor appointments, talking about the baby and making your growing tummy a normal part of your toddler’s life is a great step in the right direction. My toddler would love kissing his sibling (my belly). It became a favorite part of his bedtime routine. The new baby became a daily conversation topic. He would get so excited about talking about “the baby in mama’s tummy.”
When my second was born and we introduced them, we were able to show him this was the little baby we had been talking about! Looking back, this really helped him to know what the new baby was, where it came from, and why it was coming home with us. Have your toddler be a part of the pregnancy. Talk to them about the little one coming, often.
Plan for Two
Put a second crib up, get the baby toys out, buy a double stroller. All of these will not only help you prepare for the new baby but will help your toddler, too. The quicker the new baby’s things become normal in the home, the easier the adjustment will be!
We put the baby swing, bassinet, diapers, and changing table out fairly early to help our toddler understand what was coming. We even got the infant car seat out and put it in the car next to him. This way, he got used to something next to him in the car. Normalizing the added “clutter” helped him to adjust quicker and easier.
Set Time Aside for Your Toddler
One of the easiest ways to prepare your toddler for the new baby is to make sure you set time aside for your toddler once the baby arrives. Toddlers need so much love and attention. Sometimes the hardest part of adjusting to a new baby is the lack of attention they receive. Having mommy and daddy’s full attention is something they usually do not like to give up willingly. Be sure to have time set aside for you to zone in while the baby is sleeping and read, play, and snuggle your toddler. They will adjust so much easier with the new baby if they don’t feel like they have been forgotten!
With a new baby on the way, encouraging your toddler to be a little more independent will go a long way for you. Obviously, your hands will be more full once the little one arrives. So, teaching your toddler some confidence and independence will be super helpful. You can start by holding hands when you go places instead of carrying them. Also, have them go get their own toys and diapers. These new “games” will really give your toddler the independence you’ll need them to have. Plus, it is always good for them to grow their wings a little bit, I mean they are a big sibling now…*happy tears*!
Include them in Caring for the Baby
This is something you can’t do until baby arrives. But, having your toddler help is a great way to help them adjust. Try having them bring diapers or play peekaboo or give soft kisses. These are all great ways for you to be with your toddler while taking care of your newest addition. And, this will help them to start falling in love with their new sibling fast.
If you do these simple steps to prepare your toddler for the new baby, I have confidence they will adjust super well! Be prepared for small bumps along the way, it’s a learning curve for everyone. But, your toddler and their little sibling will be best friends forever in no time.
What are you doing to prepare your toddler for the new baby?