Expecting a second baby? Congratulations! This is a very exciting time. But it can also be stressful to think about preparing your oldest child for your impending arrival. Besides seeing your belly grow, your little one might not understand what is happening. Here are some tips to help you ease the transition.
Talk it up. Talk about the new baby as the due date approaches. If you tell your toddler too early, he may not understand why the baby hasn’t come yet. Nine months is practically an eternity to a two or three year old. Talk to your toddler about his responsibilities as an older brother and how important that role is. Help him to feel empowered to help you take care of the new baby. After you have set up the new baby’s nursery, take your toddler in to explain where the baby will sleep and play.
Spend quality time. Both before and after the baby arrives, schedule time to spend quality time toddler. You can pick his favorite activity, such as a trip to the park or museum, but make sure you can devote a few hours of quality time with just the two of you. He will need to feel special since the new baby will be getting so much attention.
Give gifts. Buy a gift from the new baby to your toddler. Present the gift with fanfare right before the new baby arrives (if possible) so your little one has time to play with it. Reinforce that the present is from the new baby.
First Meeting. Have a relative bring your toddler to the hospital for the first meeting. If possible, have the new baby in his bassinet so you can give your toddler a big hug and kiss upon his arrival. You and your partner can then bring your toddler to the new baby and introduce them. Don’t feel discouraged if he is uninterested or even upset. It will take time for him to get adjusted.
Explain. After the baby arrives, talk to your toddler when you are caring for your new baby so he understands what you are doing and why you cannot pay attention to him that minute. Explain what you are doing and if possible, find ways to let him help you. Toddlers enjoy helping so this will make him feel part of the process and less left out.
Pause. Take a moment and consider whether you can let your newborn wait for a few minutes while you give your toddler some attention. While it is instinct to pay constant attention to a newborn, there are instances where it is ok to let him swing a while longer while you read your toddler a book or get him some crayons.
Prepare. Before your baby is born, make some of your toddler’s favorite meals and freeze them for the first few weeks while you are acclimating. Your toddler will be thrilled to eat them and you won’t have the stress of cooking.
Although it may be a rocky transition, stay positive and patient. Your toddler will come around and learn to love his new role as a big brother. Good Luck!
Ashley Canton is a professional blogger that shares tips and advice on children’s apparel and gifts. She writes for Kidz N Style, a top retailer of baby gifts and baby shower gifts.