INTRODUCTING A SIBLING TO YOUR TODDLER
The arrival of a new brother or sister can be unsettling for a toddler who is used to having your undivided attention. You may find that your toddler isn’t as happy and excited about your new baby as you are. Some find it difficult to adjust.
These tips may make introducing your toddler to their new brother or sister a little easier:
- Try to keep up your toddler’s routines and activities.
Try to stick to to your established routine so that your toddler can feel reassured. This could entail visiting friends and family, going to playgroup or telling a bedtime story. You may feel this is difficult to organise in the first few weeks but be assured it will get easier in time.
- Accept that your older child might not love their new brother or sister at first.
It’s lovely if they share your pleasure, but don’t expect it. They may not feel the way you do especially when they no longer get all your attention.
- Be prepared to cope with extra demands.
It can get overwhelming with the amount of work you will have to do. Your toddler will need more attention and they’ll be more chores to do. Take the time to ask friends or relatives for help out, but remember your child will still need one-to-one time with you, so that they don’t feel as if they’ve been forgotten.
- Encourage your older child to take an interest and help with the baby.
Children love to help out and get involved in new activities. You could encourage them to take part in helping to take care of the baby. This could be as simple as getting them to sing when the baby cries. Turn looking after the baby into a fun game. Perhaps ask your toddler to help with a nappy change and encourage your child to talk to the baby. Also try talking to them about what they were like as a baby and show them their baby photos.
- Distract your toddler during feeds.
Your toddler may feel left out and jealous when you’re feeding the baby. Find something for them to do before you start feeding, or use the feed as an opportunity to tell them a story or have a chat.
- Be patient with babyish behaviour.
Your older child may what to copy the baby i.e. may ask for a bottle, want to be carried or, even if they are potty trained, start wetting themselves again. This is completely normal behaviour, so try not to let it bother you and don’t be too harsh on your child.
- Expect some jealousy and resentment.
It’s almost certain to happen at some point. Ask for help from your partner, friends or relatives, so that you can have time alone with each child and time for yourself. This will help you balance the demands put on you.