When you start nearing the end of your second pregnancy you might begin to wonder what life is going to be like with two kids, or more specifically – a toddler and a newborn. There is a good mix of excitement with a healthy dose of nerves, but one of the biggest things to consider is how you will introduce your toddler to their newborn sibling.
Here are five simple ideas to make the transition from only child to big brother or sister a smooth transition.
Read story books about the new baby
When you’re trying to prepare your firstborn for the pending arrival of their new sibling, a great way to engage their interest in the new baby is to read story books about becoming a big brother or sister. There are some fantastic books available but here are some of our favourites.
- I am a Big Brother/I am a Big Sister by Caroline Jayne Church
- Olivia; A guide to being a big sister by Natalie Shaw
- Little Miss, Big Sis by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
- My new baby by Rachel Fuller
- I just couldn’t wait to meet you by Kate Ritchie
2. Encourage your toddler to have some ‘other grown-up’ time
You might be starting to feel quite nervous about the fact that you’ll be leaving your little one to go to hospital for the birth of your second baby. In the weeks leading up to the arrival of your new baby, encourage your toddler to have some more one on one time with another adult; your partner, your parents or another significant care giver. If you usually do bath time or bed time, let them handle some of those activities to get your toddler used to you being elsewhere. You might feel sad that this special one on one time that you have with your toddler is coming to an end, but you will soon realise that bringing home another little person for the whole family to love is such an incredible gift, you will wonder why you were so worried in the first place.
Take your toddler shopping for a gift
Make a special date for you and your toddler to go to the shops specifically with the purpose of buying a gift for their new baby brother or sister. A soft teddy bear or toy is a lovely gift for an older sibling to give to their new brother or sister. And be sure to get a gift that is packed into your hospital bag for the new baby to give to their older sibling. Something they will love and be excited about. If there’s any uncertainty on your toddler’s part about the new baby, their new gift will be a great distraction and keep them busy while everyone is visiting.
Help your toddler to cuddle and bond with the baby
Even the littlest toddler will want to have a hold of the baby so find lots of ways for your toddler to be close to the new addition. Always tell your toddler how to support the babies head and how to hold her arms and legs. Perhaps find ways for them to lay down next to each other and be close and encourage your toddler to touch the baby gently. Before long you’ll have a baby that can’t take her eyes off her big brother or sister, and a toddler who loves to talk to her baby and be close to her.
Enlist your toddler’s help
Find little jobs your toddler can do to help parents and care givers take care of the new baby. It could be to go and find the baby wipes while you are doing a nappy change, or choose which outfit baby is going to wear today. There may be some jealousy, so make sure you praise your toddler for being such a good big sister or brother and being such an excellent helper.
Written by: Amanda Nicholls from Baby Hints and Tips. This non-judgemental community is a hub for advice on all things pregnancy, baby, kids and parenting. Enjoy the support and fun at www.babyhintsandtips.com
This article featured in Issue 27 of our print magazine, published April 2018.